'An immense servant to the Baptist family'
A sizeable cake and an even bigger note of thanks greeted Philip Cooke’s 90th birthday recently
Philip is our Union’s honorary tax adviser, a voluntary role in which he has served for more than 30 years (he was accorded the title at the behest of then Deputy General Secretary Douglas Sparkes around 1985).
In the role Philip, a life-long Baptist, has written pages of advice for various editions of our Taxation guidance leaflets and our regular Transform publication, as well as providing individual support to our ministers, church treasurers, Associations and the Union itself.
‘I have no idea just how many enquiries I've received from church treasurers and ministers over the years,’ he noted, ‘but it has to be several thousands.
‘I specialised in taxation as a chartered accountant and partner in one of the 'big four' accountancy firms - and I guess that, once bitten, it gets into the blood. It certainly helps to keep the grey matter active.’
Philip’s work ‘may not be very visible’, but it is ‘hugely important’, said Richard Wilson, Support Services Team Leader.
Offering his congratulations on Philip’s birthday milestone, Richard wrote, ‘I have no way of knowing how much money you have saved our Baptist family over the years, but I would not be surprised if it was well over £1m - that's a lot of funding provided for mission work!
‘And that's not to mention the stress and trouble you have helped our churches avoid in this complex area.
‘You continue to be an immense servant to the Baptist family across the UK.
‘We have been hugely blessed to have someone who is so gracious, faithful and servant-hearted as you are who is prepared to give their immense expertise to serve us. Beyond that, you have been an inspiration to me personally and a regular source of encouragement.
‘We wish you and your family every blessing on this joyful occasion.’
Philip is a member of Wilton Baptist Church, in Wiltshire, and was presented with a cake at a service earlier this month to mark his birthday on 6 February. The cake was made by Miss Alie Daniels and presented to Philip by Mrs Marion Powell, before being shared with the congregation immediately after the service.
‘We had a good celebration of Philip Cooke’s 90th during the recent Sunday service,’ said minister Jonathan Greening, who prayed for Philip after the cake presentation. ‘We are so very grateful to the Lord for both Philip and Monica.’
Asked why he has served our Union this way, Philip explained, ‘There are a number of reasons but I guess that one of them is that I have been a church treasurer for a great number of years and so have some idea of the problems and pitfalls which tend to arise.
‘Another is that I am a Baptist by birth and conviction. Born literally next door to what was then Bordesley Green Baptist Church in Birmingham, of parents who were actively involved there, I was well and truly ' brought up as a 'Baptist'. Baptised in 1950 in Redditch (after completing national service in the RAF) I later became a deacon and church secretary, as well as succeeding my father as secretary of the former Worcestershire Baptist Lay Preachers' Association.
‘Service on the BU Council for many years and also as chair of the Ministers' Pension Fund Committee (as it then was) brought me into contact with many churches and ministers, many of whom I have got to know.
‘How much longer? Well, the thought has emerged that it's time someone might feel that they would like to relieve me - so if anyone out there is bursting to 'have a go' please do let me or Richard Wilson know!’