|Wellingborough News, 3rd August 1878, transcribed by Kay Collins
THE NEW MINISTER
The anniversary of this chapel was celebrated on Wednesday. The Rev. Mr. Bradbury preached to a large congregation, and after the service a public tea was provided, the company present numbering about 200. In the evening a public meeting was held, at which the new minister, the Rev. Mr. Pung, was publicly recognized and welcomed to Rushden. The Rev. Mr. Stevens presided, and there was a large attendance.
The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, said he had been a deacon of the chapel in which Mr. Pung was now the respected pastor, and he had promised Mr. Pung that whenever he had a public meeting in connection with his chapel he (the speaker) would come and take the chair, he was very glad to be present. He had heard Mr. Pung preach, and had no doubt that he would do much good in the village of Rushden. Mr. Pung was a large hearted, generous man, an eloquent speaker, a good friend in time of need, and if he were properly supported Succoth Chapel must prosper so long as he remained to act as its minister. (Applause) The Rev. Mr. Pung, who was received with applause, said he had accepted the pastorate of this chapel because he believed it was the Lord's will that he should live and work for Him at Rushden. He had not personally sought for the appointment. When his chapel was burnt down at Norwood, he did not advertise for another appointment; he had perfect faith that he should be provided for by the Lord, and soon afterwards, through the influence of friends in London, he was asked to come to Rushden. He came, and met with an encouraging reception. The friends were very kind to him, and impressed him favourably. But, at first, he feIt hardly sure that Rushden was exactly the place in which he could be expected to labour most advantageously for Jesus Christ; the people appeared to be scattered, and the attendance at the chapel was so small that the deacons were in doubt as to the course that ought to be pursued. There were many circumstances which led him to think that he need have a strong spirit to battle with adversity, that his life at Rushden must be one of continual exertion of an arduous character, that there would be much work that would appear almost to be in vain, that trials would arise which it would be hard to bear, but, then, he wanted his people at Rushden to know and to believe that he was indeed a true follower of the Lord Jesus, that he was willing to bear trouble, and sorrow, and, if it be necessary, affliction for His sake; and so, after serious thought and fervent prayer, he determined that, since the Master had called him to Rushden, he would remain, and try by every means in his power, to prove a profitable servant. He was sure he might depend upon the prayers of his congregation. He had before him a glorious workto preach Christ crucified. A nobler work man could not perform, and they might depend upon him to speak always plainly, straightforwardly, and conscientiously. He should do his duty thoroughly, according to his ability, and trust to find that his words were acceptable to those who heard him. If they were not satisfied with him, he hoped they would say so at once, and he would be quite willing to go away. His great aim in life was to do the greatest possible good, and nothing would pain him more than to feel that he was not properly fulfilling the wishes of his people. In the pulpit he should hold strongly to his religious convictions. If they were not satisfied with him, he hoped they would say so at once, and he would be quite willing to go away. His great aim in life was to do the greatest possible good, and nothing would pain him more than to feel that he was not properly fulfilling the wishes of his people. In the pulpit he should hold strongly to his religious convictions, and in private life he should be true to his political views. He knew he had been accused of favouring Lord Beaconsfield more than Mr. Gladstone, but they must remember that his chief dutya duty which would always stand first in his mindwas to serve Christ. He had before him the task of trying to save perishing sinners, and no political considerations would hinder the true performance of his duty as a minister of Christ. He wished particularly, while he was permitted to remain at Rushden to be regarded as one who was anxious to help the poor, as one who would sympathise with them in their afflictions, strengthen them in times of weakness, visit them in sickness, and remove their doubts by the promises contained in the blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ. The rev. gentleman was listened to attentively throughout, his address, and resumed his seat amidst loud applause.
The Rev. R. E. Bradfield offered a hearty welcome to Mr. Pung, and observed that at Rushden there was ample room for the services of such a devout and earnest man. He had listened to Mr. Pung's speech with much interest, and hoped soon to have an opportunity of hearing him preach. Though men engaged in the ministry might hold different religious views, they were all working towards the same end, and the object of their work was to teach their follow creatures so to live that when death came they might have a certain conviction that there was prepared for them an eternal home in the kingdom of heaven. He asked the congregation to help Mr. Pung in his work liberally and prayerfully, and he felt sure that they would have cause to feel thankful that Mr. Pung had come to labour amongst them.
The Rev. Mr. Bradbury delivered an interesting and profitable address, and after the usual votes of thanks had been passed, the proceedings were brought to a close by singing and prayer.