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Goodbye, but not farewell to reverend after 40 years

LIFE OF WORSHIP: Reverend Arlington Trotman has been involved in the church from a young age

REVEREND ARLINGTON Trotman, a well-known figure within Britain’s black Christian community, is gearing-up to retire after 40 years serving as a minister.

He will be celebrating the closing of this chapter of his ministry with a special service at Wesley’s Chapel in London attended by family, friends and well-wishers.

The Barbados-born minister, who has worked as a pastor within the Wesleyan Holiness Church and currently serves as leader of Stockwell Methodist Church, and Springfield Methodist Church, both based in south London, finishes at the end of this month (July).

Alongside his pastoral work, Rev. Trotman worked as the moderator of the Churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe, which saw him travel across the Europe and serve as chief executive officer of Churches’ Commission for Racial Justice. Some of that work saw him visit Northern Ireland to help diffuse tension between migrants and the host community, occasionally putting his life on the line.

He was also active within the now defunct African Caribbean Evangelical Alliance, an organisation that sought to foster unity among black church leaders as well as serve as a bridge between communities.

Rev. Trotman is in awe of how God has used him to impact others. He said:

“How is that God can take a life like mine, coming from a working class background and make something so significant of it, both for me personally and for the privileges I have had working with so many different people and organisations here and all around the world. For me to think about that is almost unbelievable.”

A self-confessed cricket lover, Rev. Trotman was born and raised in a Christian family in Barbados, alongside his brother and four sisters. His father was a Pentecostal preacher.

Like many preachers’ children, Rev. Trotman spent most of his youth in church. and when he was 14 he left to pursue his love of cars and trained to be a mechanic. He recommitted his life to God at 18 and the support he received from some elders in the church stands out in his mind. He recalled:

“I never felt such warmth from three elderly women, who became my mothers, almost – who not only welcomed me to the church but were so sensitive caring and living in introducing me back to what faith in Jesus Christ meant.”

At 20, Rev. Trotman came to the United Kingdom.

He felt called to ministry but was unsure so, over the years pursued his career goals which included applying to join the police force and studying accountancy. He still had a love for cars, and the joy of his life was a Mini Cooper. Still feeling a pull to ministry, Rev. Trotman told God he would have to make unequivocally clear he wanted him to become a minister.

One night, aged 26, he went to church and parked his beloved car outside. When he went to drive it
home the car was gone. It had been stolen. However, that was a pivotal moment for the reverend. He explained:

“In that moment, I was calm. I was quiet. I knew what was happening. That was my turning point and in the next couple of months I made preparations to go into Bible study. There was no more struggle.”

Almost immediately Rev. Trotman enrolled to study at the British Isles Nazarene College in Manchester.

When he left college, he served as pastor for the Wesleyan Holiness Church in Harrow Green, east London before taking up his role as Churches’ Commission for Racial Justice.

With his pastoral work coming to a close, Rev. Trotman is adamant that he won’t fully retire. He will be spending time with his family, including his grandchildren, and also pay his 93 year-old mother a visit. He is also keen to be involved with the training of ministers. He adds:

“The accumulation of experiences and insight has been a strong part of my ministry over the years.

“I would still like to input in some way into the development of ministerial life.”

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