A vicar who was leaving a parish, and at his farewell service he preached wonderful sermon and as people were shaking his hand at the door, an old chap said to him, “We’ll miss you when you’ve gone, the next vicar won’t be as good as you!”
The vicar was flattered and humbly said, “Oh, no – I’m sure that won’t be true.” “Oh it will be,” said the man, “You see, I’ve been a member of this church for forty years and have seen five vicars come and go . . . and each one was worse than the last!”
Exactly eight years ago, I wrote my first letter in the parish magazine. In June 2010, I moved to this neck of the woods, and it’s now time for me to pick up sticks and move on to pastures new.
At our patronal festival in church last month, I informed the congregation that I will be taking early retirement in September and moving to Spain. My decision means that from 1 October 2018, the parish will be in an interregnum, i.e. without a full-time parish priest until another is appointed.
If you’ve lived in the parish since the 1960’s, you would have seen five vicars past this way, and my departure will bring it to six. You could say that I have been a temporary resident of Up Hatherley and The Reddings, but the same could be said of everyone living in the parish. In the fullness of time, everyone will leave, one way or another.
Letting go and moving is an important part of the life of the parish church. It is a place of celebration at the start of someone’s life, as in baptism (christening), and when someone’s earthly life has come to end, as in a funeral.
I have been privileged to have conducted many such services of ‘moving on’ over my eight years, and have been blessed in the process.
Yours in Christ,