Wednesday, April 13, 2011

all good things

I have been gifted with eleven wonderful years here at St Catherine's, and it is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that I come to the end of this time.

Sadness - because this is my home. This church, my family. This past decade has been wonderful, and I have loved being vicar here beyond the power of words to convey. It has been the most enormous privilege to lead this congregation through all kinds of adventures of faith: renewals of buildings and people and worship and hope. We have seen the Lord's great kindness, felt his love, and been able to share these precious, precious things throughout our community as we have built up our life together.

But also I am excited. Excited for St Catherine's. I came here because I felt called to be a part of what the Lord is doing, and although my part is done, what God is doing is far from over. What lies ahead is tremendous - and I am excited to see whom the Lord will bring to lead the church on into the next phase of its life.

And I am excited for myself. Trish reminded us at the start of the year that following Jesus is a gift, and right now I feel that keenly. I am not going to another parish but to something totally different. I will be working at Leeds University as part of a team working on a campaign there, and I will have a part to play in co-ordinating some of that work. This will be very different for me, and stepping out into new things is always a risk, but sometimes that's at the heart of faith. Being prepared for the unexpected. I will live on the other side of the pew - being a member of a church, becoming an NSM in that diocese, but my work will be focussed in a whole other place for the next period, and I am excited about this new stage in my life.

I have been aware for some months that it is time for me to finish here, and for someone else to come and lead St Catherine's onwards; a very few people have shared this with me, and I am grateful for their kind support. It has taken a while to work out what exactly should be next for me, and I am delighted to be joining the team at Leeds.

This won't happen overnight. I am looking to finish here in mid-July before moving north and beginning at the University at the start of August. So there's plenty of time to do many things yet; and may I say to everyone who has been a part of my life at St Catherine's - thank you for allowing me these eleven years. I would not have swapped them for anything. The Lord bless you mightily as you walk forwards with him in the days & years ahead - I may be going, but I shall continue to pray & to watch with wonder at all he will do in your midst.  

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