Saying Goodbye - The Journey So Far

I announced recently that I am moving on to become the next Rector of Christleton in the Diocese of Chester. In part, honouring a calling to care for ageing parents in the years ahead. I was taken aback by how much it hurt to share the news, and I am aware that, for some, it also hurt to hear it. I am sure this is a good thing – at least when the dust settles. A reflection of the deep bonds of love and friendship that have been formed, and for which we may be grateful. How could it be any different? It can’t or it shouldn’t. It has been a real privilege to journey with you over these past 5.5 years. Thank you for the life we have shared.

Back in July 2017 I spent time with the Parochial Church Council reviewing the Journey so far by way of planning for the years ahead. This presentation may be viewed and or downloaded here, and I commend it to you. It captures something of the significant progress we have made in all areas we sought to work on and much else besides thanks to your combined efforts, sacrifice, and vision. It also reveals something of the challenges ahead.

Following this presentation we discussed our assessment of the health of our church community. The results may be found here, and affirmed the progress we are making while highlighting a need to prioritise and develop a church which was energised by faith, had an increasingly outward-looking focus, and was prepared to face the cost of growth and change.

From these results, back in July 2017, we fashioned a plan, which may be found here, as to what we thought needed working on, and we have diligently worked towards some of these ends identified. Some of the more recent highlights might be Nate successfully completing his curacy, Dave’s chaplain and youth worker ministry in the school and parish flourishing, Stuart and others beginning to look seriously at how the musical life of the parish may develop and flourish, the I:Tea and Coffee club we offered the wider community, the welcoming of Fiona Owen to start training (in Sept. 2018) as a Licensed Lay Minister in the parish, and further development in people understanding and experiencing God’s calling on their lives.

But this is, deliberately, no attempt at an executive summary. It is best, if you are interested, to prayerfully reflect on the following few documents made available if you really want to understand something of the journey so far.

The journey so far has been one of hard graft – something of the season of life we have found ourselves in, but with many moments of sublime beauty and awe as God has revealed Himself present and active in our amidst. I hope the journey so far has been a truly poor one. I think Jesus’ life shows us the wisdom in this. His journey ended in failure and his death. But from this came abundant life for all – the so called “strong” and “weak” among us. I have sought especially to listen to the “weak” in these past 5.5 years.

My closing prayer for you, the parish, is that you will continue to journey on poorly, and in this way discover the beauty, power, and glory of a life which seeks to join in with what God is already doing among and with you.

With my love and prayers,