Church leaders: Duane and Clare Elkins
Our church leaders are Duane and Clare Elkins. They are in their fourties and have three children, between the ages of eighteen and twelve.
Duane is from Texas, where his mother and four sisters still live. Brought up in a small Southern Baptist Church, Duane made a personal commitment to Jesus at the age of 11.
During his teenage years Duane became disenchanted with the church. A serious car accident at the age of 17 nearly cost him his life, and it was soon after this experience that Duane made a decision to stop playing around. The result was that he entered into a life-changing relationship with God and he was baptised in the Holy Spirit.
At university he gained a degree in Business Administration after taking a gap year working in a church in England. It was there he met his wife Clare. Duane has just completed a second degree in Theology. When relaxing he enjoys watching movies and playing basketball.
Clare was brought up in Norwich in a Christian home and became a Christian at the age of 8. Educated at the Hewitt School, she went to the Norwich Art College and then on to the London College of Printing where she gained a Degree in Photography.
Clare became a travel photographer, living in London and working in places of interest all over the world. One weekend she visited her parents home in Norwich, met Duane, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Clare and Duane’s personal and church vision is to encourage, inspire, equip and release everyone into the call God has placed upon their life. Duane loves people and is a great friend to many, Duane is being used by God as an evangelist.
Clare has a great heart for children and desires to make the church an exciting, fun place for children to learn about Jesus. She is very gifted, resourceful and creative working with children in the community as well as heading up the work with our church children. The children love her to bits, and she feels privileged to serve God in this way.
Pastor Emeritus: John and Doreen Betts
John Betts is the Pastor Emeritus at the New Hope Christian Centre. He graduated from the London Bible College, where he met his wife Doreen, in the late 1960s.
John started his ministry in a Baptist church in the Midlands, where he worked for four years before coming to Norwich and he has stayed ever since. He has led the church in Norwich for many years, as well as working with churches in Ireland, Austria, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
With his wife Doreen he has run a leadership development course with African pastors and they have received requests to take the course into several other African countries.
John came to Norwich with a strong sense of call to establish church in the City. This call has never left him and is the reason why he is working with Transforming Norwich as Development Officer. Chair of Celebrate Norwich and Norfolk, Norwich foodbank, Norfolk Street Partnership.
He and Doreen are based in Lakenham at New Hope and are heading up the New Build project there, to house the growing church congregation and the rapidly developing social action work.
John and Doreen have two children and three grandchildren. Their son is married; he lives and works in London. Their daughter Clare is married to Duane from Texas and with their three children, they live in Norwich and are part of the leadership team at New Hope.
Doreen has been a Magistrate on the Norwich Bench for 20 years. In the 1990s she was on the Probation Committee for five years. Her experience in the courts led her, with another colleague, to found the Magdalene Group, a project working with prostitutes in the city.
Doreen is a member of the church trustees and has special responsibility for Community Action Norwich, the charity through which the church carries out its social action work in the local community.