Musings From The Manse: Spring 2013
From ‘Priest-town’ to ‘God’s port’
It is with some sadness that I write what will be my final pastoral letter to you all – in just a few short weeks; Colin and I will face the upheaval of moving house once more, as I leave to take up the position of Minister to two churches in Gosport, Hampshire.
In my life, I have moved no less than eleven times – so you’d think I’d be getting used to it by now! It certainly helps to keep down the clutter, and prevents you from ‘storing’ things in the loft – but it never becomes something that is easy to do. Each time, a little bit of me gets left behind – but each time I also take memories of that place with me.
When we leave Preston, I hope that the bit which gets left behind will be the memories you will have of our time here – the good times and the not so good – the happy times and the sad ones – the times when we have journeyed together in harmony, as well as those when we’ve been little out of step with each other.
The memories I will take with me are too numerous to mention – but I will never forget the acceptance I found here in my first pastorate, and I will continue to reflect on the challenges you gave me – some of which were more challenging than others!
It seems fitting, somehow, that my final weeks here are part of the season of Lent – a time to reflect on the journey that Jesus takes to the cross and how our own discipleship is challenged by it. As I look to the journey that is before me, both spiritually and physically, I will as always, seek God’s guidance in all that I do. The opportunity to minister in a new but familiar place will not be without its difficulties – but the experience I have gained here, with you, will hold me in good stead, and help me to face the unknown.
Whatever the future holds, both for Colin and myself, and for you as a community of faith – my prayer is for God’s will to be at the centre of all we do, and His leadership guide us in the course set before us.
And so, in the words of this Gaelic blessing…
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Yours in Christ,
PS My induction will be on the 20th April, 2.30pm, at Bury Road United Reformed Church – and whilst I realise that it will be difficult for most, if not all of you to be there, I hope that you will hold both Colin and I in your prayers on that day. And if ever you are ‘dahn sarf’, there will always be a welcome for you at 9 Carlton Road, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 1JU. Thank you.