THE rector of Hambleden has left after more than six years in the post
THE rector of Hambleden has left after more than six years in the post.
The Rev John Wigram, 47, and his wife Rachel, who is also ordained, are moving to Ripley, Derbyshire, where he is to become the vicar.
He said: ?Our family has grown up and we?re looking to do something together in a new ministry setting.
?It was really what we felt we ought to be doing, working in a town community. It?s a very much more hands-on ministry which is supporting the local community through the church.
?We will get there and then Rachel will be working out what her role should be exactly.?
Mrs Wigram, also 47, is keen to play a part in the church after recovering from illness that left her in a wheelchair. In 2007 she suffered viral meningitis while also battling myalgic encephalomyelitis but five years later she was ?healed through prayer? while the couple were at a Christian retreat in Pembrokeshire.
Rev Wigram was appointed rector of the Hambleden Valley group of churches, including Frieth and Skirmett, Fawley, Fingest, Medmenham and Turville as well as St Mary the Virgin in Hambleden, in September 2008.
The couple and their children, David, 23, Hannah, 22, and Peter, 18 came from Holy Trinity Church in Haslemere, Surrey.
The rector said: ?I?ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I?ve learnt so much, done so many wonderful things and had a fantastic team of colleagues to work with. They are the people who will carry on the ministry here. As the rector, you get this wonderful opportunity to be involved in people?s lives and to bring God into situations. You make some really special friendships and so it?s really sad to be leaving.
?But we feel God?s calling us on to somewhere new and we?re excited and daunted by that. We have got lots of learning to do.?
He said he had also enjoyed the quirky aspects of the job, including blessing runners in the Frieth Hilly and taking on the role of station master to narrate the Hambleden Valley railway nativity at Sir William and Lady McAlpine?s home in Fawley Hill.
A farewell service for the couple was held at St Mary?s on Sunday. At the end of the Eucharist ceremony, parishioners presented the couple with gifts.
They received a bottle of sparkling wine from Pheasants? Ridge vineyard in Pheasant?s Hill with the message: ?May God?s spirit continue to bubble up within you.?
They were also given two clay lamps, a rosemary bush and two framed paintings of the Hambleden Valley?s six churches by artist Hannah Firmin.
Rev Wigram will be instituted as vicar at All Saints? Church in Ripley on February 3 by the Bishop of Derby.