ABOUT 170 people officially welcomed a new pastor to a church, which had been without a leader for nine months.

Anthony Smith was inducted at Holmer Green Baptist Church on Saturday.

Anthony was appointed pastor in March after previously working for 28 years in the food industry.

The induction was conducted by Stephen Copson, regional minister and general secretary of the Central Baptist Association; Phil MacInnes, a retired minister and friend of Anthony’s gave the message and the service was led by Mark Coventry, one of the church's Deacons.

Anthony said: "It is a real privilege to serve the church and the local community in this way. I am particularly pleased that all the churches in the village work so closely together, something we should appreciate and nurture."

He lives with his wife, Adele and they have three grown up boys, all of whom are married.

To find out more about the church and the various activities go to www.holmergreenbaptist.org.uk or call 01494 712479.