Steve Morley has finished his two year stint at the Wednesday night Bar’N’Bus team. He’s also finishing his 20-year stint as a relentless schools’ worker in the local area and beyond, being a Counties’ Evangelist. Steve was also key in getting GSUS Live to Thurrock in 2002, 2005 and 2008 (it’s returning in 2012).
Transformation Thurrock went to the West Thurrock Bar’N’Bus on Steve’s last night at the end of April to see him off. He was presented with a cake (left), which all the team and young people enjoyed over the evening. Some of the young people also made cards for Steve, one of which you can see below. He later answered these questions via email.
TT: Steve, your two-year wind down period of your considerable schools’ work portfolio is nearing its end. What’s happening?
SM: I took my first school assembly at West Thurrock PS on 15/1/91 so this is my 20th school year. Some of the children at that original assembly will be in their thirties now! My final tour will commence after half-term when I’ll be distributing Scripture Union’s It’s Your Move leavers’ books to the Y6 children.
TT: You spent your last night on the Bar’N’Bus at West Thurrock on 31 March. What was the evening like and how did you feel?
SM: Teenagers can be so offhand at times that you don’t realise how much they appreciate the Bus and its staff (right). I was overwhelmed with everyone’s kindness. I had a leaving cake and they made cards. Then I drove the bus back to Tilbury, locked up and went home….
TT: So is that the last we will see of you on the bus?
SM: Possibly, although as a trained bus driver I’ll be available for the Grays team in emergencies.
TT: How do you think the team at West Thurrock have progressed over the past two years?
SM: We’ve seen staff members come and go but are proud of the fact that, despite being drawn form a relatively small “pool,” there’s always been a team ready to go out. It’s been great to see staff members grow in confidence and get to know the kids. Some who were quite unruly at first seem to have settled down (that’s the kids, not adults) – we’ve seen many answers to prayer! (The team say goodbye to Steve – below.)
TT: So how many more schools do you have left to ‘drop’?
SM: Over all these years I’ve been privileged to lay a firm foundation of Bible teaching in some 17 local schools and won the goodwill of staff so my priority is to hand these things over to others to carry on… I’m delighted to say that each school now has at least one other person able to take assemblies and lessons from a Christian perspective. And some of these contacts have been “fortuitous”. I sense a divine hand at work. God has a purpose for this rising generation.
TT: Will you miss doing your school’s work?
SM: How could I not? To see hundreds of people listening intently as a Bible story unfolds in the assembly-hall; or to be asked penetrating questions from a child’s heart in the classroom…. if I weren’t sure that God is calling me out of schools I’d be carrying on. I count many of the staff as friends and I’ve enjoyed seeing the children grow up in each school. I’m not looking forward to all the goodbyes in June and July. Pass the tissues….
TT: What exactly is your new job about?
SM: With Kingsley Hall Church and Community Centre you get just what it says on the tin – a church with a community centre attached. I’ll be “Site Co-ordinator” (helping to run the Centre) “and Pastoral Assistant” (helping the people).
TT: What are you looking forward to most about your new role?
SM: So far as an evangelist I’ve been like the sower in the parable – scattering the seeds widely and then moving on to leave them to their fate. Now I’ll be more like a gardener using a dibble – sowing a seed at a time and helping the resultant plant to grow strong.
TT: Will you be leaving West Thurrock Chapel?
SM: It’s been my only church, where I was baptised and grew but, yes, it’s time to go in July.
TT: Where will you be fellowshipping instead?
SM: The aforementioned KHC&CC in the beautiful riverside village of Dagenham
TT: What does your wife, Dawn, think about all of this?
SM: We both know that we’ve reached a watershed in our lives and are looking for change, so Dawn has a sense of anticipation. And it’s like a dream come true for both of us – to breathe the same air as Stacey Solomon!
TT: And your children?
SM: I guess they just think it’s another of Dad’s crazy schemes.
TT: Anything else you’d like to say?
SM: Thanks to all who have befriended, supported and encouraged me since my conversion in ’87. It’s been a privilege and a joy to be part of the Christian family in Thurrock and my departure in July will be bitter-sweet even though we won’t be moving house at first. But, as Bob Dylan sang,
“Well, I’m pressing on,
To the higher calling of my Lord.
Shake the dust off of your feet, don’t look back
Nothing can hold you down, nothing that you lack
Well, I’m pressing on
To the higher calling of my Lord”.
- www.bobdylan.com (quote from Pressing On from the album Saved 1980)