A newly-arrived pastor is soon taking up his post in the New Year leading an international team of five - consisting of three ministers and two volunteers - at a Garston church whose 600-plus members are made up of more than 30 different nationalities.

Pastor Jacques Venter has replaced recently-retired Pastor Paul Clee as Senior Minister at Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Albans Road.

Having grown up in the coal mining countryside of Mpumalanga in South Africa, Pastor Venter, studied theology at Helderberg College, graduating in 2000.

After working as a minister in South Africa he and his wife, Lara, decided to seize the opportunity to come to England to work, arriving at the end of 2007. Since then he has continued his studies part time and is about to complete an MA degree in Youth Ministry and has pastored Adventist churches in Hemel Hempstead, St Albans and Welwyn Garden City.

He and Lara, a teacher, have two daughters.

Associate Minister, Swedish-born Pastor Karin Wieczorek, arrived at the beginning of 2012 having been working in Adventist churches in Australia for some years.

A fluent English speaker she also speaks Spanish and Polish as well as her native Swedish and has lived in America, Spain, Australia and England. Married to a Polish Seventh-day Adventist minister, who is currently extending his theological studies, she has two children and lives in Watford.

The third member of the Pastoral Team is Pastor Ivana Mendez who arrived in the autumn as the Intern Pastor.

Currently working 3-4 days a week as a church pastor this is her first appointment since qualifying as a minister.

The daughter of two doctors living in Slovenia, her husband is in his final year of theology studies and is planning to work as a Seventh-day Adventist minister too.

Like the Venters she also has "great expectations" for 2013 with her first child being due in February.

Completing the international flavour to the team are two "student missionaries", Pavle Milanovic from Serbia and Charlotte Rashleigh from Brisbane, Australia.

They are part of a large number of Adventist young people around the world who take up short-term posts within the denomination on a voluntary basis, in return for accommodation and an allowance. Pavle and Charlotte help out with church-based activities for the members as well as those for the local community.

Of his new appointment, Pastor Jacques, as he prefers to be known, said: "The lord has blessed us so far with a wonderful spiritual journey in England as part of our own life journey.

"We look forward with great excitement to joining the Pastoral Staff, Church Leadership team and members of Stanborough Park Church.

"To be part of the vibrant life of The Stanborough Centre excites us and we also hope that God will work through us as we minister his love and care to the citizens of Garston and the wider community of Watford."