In heavenly love abiding: from acting to Christian ministry
Paul and Elaine Harper were actors beginning to enter the ‘big time’ in their careers in the late 1960s. Theatre and TV work was coming their way. Paul had just had his big break as part of a very successful theatrical production in London’s West End. However, despite these successes, they both felt a gaping emptiness and growing unease with the oftentimes immoral life attached to the stage. It was at this time that they visited Westminster Chapel in London and heard the powerful preaching of a certain Welshman by the name of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. And so their lives were transformed by the power of the Gospel; in their own words, they left ‘the smell of the greasepaint’ (the makeup applied to actors on stage) to follow Him Whose ‘lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh’ (Song of Songs 5:13).
After their marriage, Paul entered training for the ministry and together both Paul and Elaine have served the Lord Jesus for many years. Paul was pastor of the Granary Evangelical Church in Rainham, Kent for twenty-four years, as well as being an itinerant preacher across the ‘Bible belt’ of the United States. It was in his capacity as pastor of the Granary that the writers of this blog came to know Paul and Elaine very well—we both grew up in the Granary!
It’s our privilege to be able to share with you this interview with Paul and Elaine Harper. Theirs is a riveting story and they are fantastic characters we can all learn and take much from. Growing up, we were greatly blessed by Paul’s ministry, but the thing I will always treasure most is the times of prayer spent with Paul, Elaine and the Granary, pouring out our hearts together before the Lord. Their story stands as a testimony to the power of praying to the Lord.
We trust you enjoy this interview. It is rather long, but I would very much encourage you to listen right through to the end, even if it takes you a couple of sittings and a few cups of tea! We hope what will be evident throughout is not how amazing Paul and Elaine are, but how amazing the Lord is in His great grace, in saving and transforming sinners for His service, whatever their background and in spite of their many mistakes along the way. When asked for what we could call this interview and what one line sums up their lives, they came up with ‘In heavenly love abiding‘.