June 2013

From the Rectory

As I write this article for the June magazine, the same month as the summer solstice I can hardly believe that we approach mid-summer: snow in Shropshire and Devon and near freezing temperatures locally. Easter may have brought the resurrection of Jesus Christ but it has done little to resurrect the spirits of people after such a long and hard winter, and where oh where did spring go?

Despite the weather we move forward in the faith of Christ crucified, trusting in his love and compassion, and as we all know, trust in God and all will be well and as Julian of Norwich said ‘and all manner of things shall be well.’

The future holds many challenges and opportunities for Freemantle Parish. Our newly elected Churchwardens and members of the PCC will be guiding the Parish day by day and with God’s help through the coming interregnum. We are very fortunate to have Mrs. Gwen Kitcher and Mr. Tony Kench in post as Churchwardens as they have both dealt with this situation before. Pray for them and for the PCC, hold back any criticism and support them, they will be having to cope with many things and need to know that you are alongside them.

You were all given a piece of paper recently asking you to consider adding your name to one of the many rotas that we need to keep the Church running smoothly. If you haven’t filled one in yet there are more at the back of the Church. We need to top up these rotas with extra names. All of this will help during the vacancy. This appeal will be closed at the end of June so that new rotas can be produced for August. Please, please do consider how you might be able to help.

It barely seems possible that I am about to retire. I have been in permanent employment for fifty years and despite being made redundant have never been out of work. I have had two distinct careers, thirty years in the printing industry, ten of them self-employed and twenty years in ordained ministry. The latter would not have been possible had it not been for those years working in industry with the many experiences and relationships that came with them. It was a good preparation for ‘Vicaring’. There is little that has surprised me and nothing that has shocked me. I have been uplifted and encouraged by the Christians around me and together we have walked many a road. My whole life, as I reflect, has been a series of one resurrection after another. What a blessing.

My wife, Lys, and I have bought a house on the western edge of Gosport, about half a mile from Stokes Bay and we are looking forward to making our home there. There is a lot to do in the house, but, hey, we have the rest of our lives to sort that out. I’m uncertain how retirement will suit me. When Lys retired the space was immediately and seamlessly filled with other activity. I will always remember though something that Ann Lewin said to me when she retired, ‘guard the space’ she said. Ann, I have taken that to heart and hope to do just that, at least until I feel ready to be about my Father’s business again.

Yours for Christ's sake.