Well, in simple terms they are: Ethney Ellwood, John Fairbairn, David Hoyle, Nigel Legrand, Steve Parselle, Paul Renyard, Kelvin Randall, James Robertson, Janice Seare, Sandra Tauson, and David Thompson. Most of us are retired from parish ministry and are worshipping in the benefice or in nearby parishes. The transition into retirement is never easy or straightforward in any walk of life, but for clergy and their partners it often involves not just the loss of support and companionship enjoyed in working relationships, but the additional loss of home, friends and the familiar surroundings of the places where we have ministered over a period of years. To be welcomed into a worshipping community and to be able to share in its life is for us therefore very special. Thank you.
We are all clergy, called by God to the ordained ministry of the Church of England and so have many years’ experience of leading Sunday services, baptisms, weddings and funerals.
We all have the Bishop of Winchester’s Permission to Officiate. This also means that we have regular checks from the Disclosure and Barring Service, and have to continue to receive safeguarding training. We are all unpaid, like all of you who volunteer in our churches with your wide range of gifts and ministries.
What do we do?
Whatever Andy wants us to do is the direct answer. He is the one tasked by God to lead our churches and we want to do what we can to free him to exercise his own ministry in the best way possible. So, when you see one of us leading a service in church, it’s almost certain that Andy will be leading worship or preaching in one of the other benefice churches. Our ministry has to fit within that of the church overall, and so we need the humility and discernment to recognise how we can best be of service here. And what a privilege it is to be able to share in worship with you!
Let me end with the prayer of the Retired Clergy Association:
Lord, my support in ministry, may I be a support to others;
Lord, my strength in times of frailty, may I be a strength to others;
Lord, my companion in times of loneliness, may I be a companion to others; Lord, my light in times of darkness, may I be a light to others;
Lord, my guide in times of confusion, may I be a guide to others;
Lord, my rock, my confidence and my joy,
protect me in despair and dismay,
that I may complete my pilgrimage
which began, continues and will end,
With hope, in you.
Kelvin Randall, associate minister
Cartoon from: https://www.cpg.org/global/online-resources/cartoons/