My name is Bob Hardman. I am married to Christine and have three daughters, Anna, Rachel and Ellie.
I was born and brought up on a farm in rural Lancashire. From my earliest memories I remember going to a local Congregational Church and being taught the bible in Sunday School. My parents were keen Christians and their faith influenced every area of our lives as a family. I clearly remember visiting Crown Lane Free Methodist for a special evangelistic meeting at the age of 8 and committing my life to the Lord. I knew from that night that I was a child of God.
Due to my father’s ill health we left the farm when I was 13 and moved to Garstang. We joined Garstang Free Methodist church and I enjoyed growing up within an active youth fellowship and under the pastoral ministry of Rev Barrie Walton and later the Rev Allan Ellershaw. I learnt so much from these men of God about living the Christian life, the importance of studying the word as well as opening myself up to the person and power of the Holy Spirit. I saw the church grow and grew deeper in my faith.
I then went to university in Newcastle upon Tyne where I was heavily involved in the Christian Union, again widening my experience by meeting people from other denominations and understanding that the people of God were a wonderful mix of views, styles and convictions, but yet united in Christ. After gaining my degree in Agricultural and Food Marketing I returned to Garstang and for 4 years worked selling animal feed to farmers as a Sales Adviser.
Again I got involved in all aspects of church life including helping lead the youth work. I met my wife Christine during that time and we married in 1987. In 1988 we felt God calling us into Christian Bookselling and we bought an established Christian Book Shop in Preston. For the next 22 years that was our life and ministry. We grew the business and took on the Lancaster Christian Book Shop in 1998. God taught us so much over these years and also blessed us with three beautiful daughters. My involvement continued in all areas of church life, becoming a lay minister as well as doing other roles within the church. We loved the Garstang church and were blessed to have a thriving children’s and youth work for our girls to be involved in.
In 2008 however God began to speak to us about a change of direction in our lives. At first separately, but then together, Christine and I felt that God was calling us to something new which would involve selling the shops and leaving Garstang. We were so happy and settled there, but God had other plans.
The call to Hayle in Cornwall is too long to relate here, but we linked up with Rev Andrew Ollerton and the Penwith Light and Life churches, which he had been instrumental in planting. He needed a pastor with a “shepherd’s heart” to work alongside him in Penzance and more specifically for the new congregation in Hayle. We knew this call was of God and through scripture, circumstances, trusted friends and prophetic words it was confirmed to us many times over.
At the end of August 2010 we said a tearful farewell to our old life in Garstang and travelled the 380 miles to Hayle. We knew it was right before God, but was costly for our daughters leaving church friends and school and college friends and for ourselves leaving friends and family, particularly our elderly parents, who sent us out with their blessing, but would have loved us to be around for them at this stage of their lives.
God has blessed us with a wonderful, loving church family in Hayle. We have been amazed to see the church grow and become a loving family. I am constantly challenged by the role of Pastor but I trust Him that every day he gives me the strength I need. It is only through Him and the Holy Spirit within me that I can do this.
Job 42:2 – “I know you can do all things. No plans of yours can be thwarted.”
Phil 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”