Sammy attended a service in Newtownards Elim Church on Sunday 8th October 2017 to celebrate the story and 45 years of ministry in the Elim Church of Pastor Raymond Cotter.
Raymond was born on 30th August 1951, the fifth child of Johnny and Essie Cotter of Ballymena, the family being 11 children. By his own account Raymond had a happy childhood when he lived at Hill Street, Ballymena. He attended children’s meetings in Hill Street Baptist Church every Friday night. He was an industrious teenager and he had an after school job in a local grocers shop where he weighed potatoes and vegetables. Sometimes he got to go out on the mobile van to sell groceries around the country.
Raymond committed his life to the Lord Jesus Christ on 8 October 1967 and towards the end of 1968 he felt a definite call of God on his life. At the age of 19 he was successful in his application to attend the Elim Bible College in Capel, Surrey for two years, which was his first taste of living away from his family.
After his time in Surrey, he was sent back home to Northern Ireland to work with Sammy’s father, Pastor Sandy Wilson, who was at that time the Irish Superintendent for the Elim church. Pastor Sandy Wilson was the challenging and inspirational speaker at Raymond’s induction to his first church, Markethill Elim Church on 30 August 1972 which was Raymond’s 21st birthday.
Raymond served the Lord in Markethill for almost six years and was then led to take up the church at Brookeborough, where he was for three years. He then was led to take up the church in Newtownards and moved with his wife Connie and two children, Timothy and Samuel. While in Newtownards, two more children were born, Andrew and Claire.
A lovely night was had by Sammy and all who attended the celebration on 8 October 2017. One notable attendee was nonagenarian, Molly McCloy who spent some time with Sammy during the evening.