Sunday, 05 December 2021

Villagers say goodbye to church curate with song

Villagers say goodbye to church curate with song

THE outgoing curate at St Mary’s Church has thanked the community for making his time in Wargrave special.

A farewell service was held for Hugh Barne on June 27, his final Sunday in the parish, four years after he came to the village.

He is moving with his wife Grace and their one-year-old son Isaac to Cornwall, where he will be associate minister at St Kea Church, near Truro. The couple are expecting their second child in December.

Members of the church family had organised a picnic on Mill Green for the day but this could not go ahead due to the delay in the coronavirus restictions being lifted.

But Lis Hobden wrote a special song to mark the occasion, with help from Camilla Cook, the wife of vicar Rev John Cook.

The song, Farewell Song for Hugh, Grace and Isaac Too was a surprise for the family.

It was first performed at the end of the 9.15am family service and repeated at the start of the 10.30am service.

It made reference to Mr Barne’s involvement with church activities, such as the holiday club and Messy Church, an arts and crafts workshop for children that includes singing and Bible readings.

The song also thanked him for helping the church through the coronavirus pandemic by holding services online.

Miss Hobden said: “Camilla had the idea of trying to write a song to mark the departure of the Barnes and asked for my input. Before the lockdown was extended, we had planned a socially distanced picnic but Hugh and Grace felt that in the present climate it wouldn’t be right to encourage people to gather so at the eleventh hour we decided on a song instead.

“Camilla gave me a list of Hugh’s contributions to the life of the church and the community over the past four years and I decided that the music of the Floral Dance would work well, especially as they would be moving to Cornwall.

“We concentrated on producing a light-hearted celebration of what they mean to us and I hope that our love and gratitude to the Barne family came across. We’ll miss them very much but have a whole host of happy memories.”

Mr Barne said: “Although I can’t claim to live up to all the kind things said about me at the two services, I certainly recognised myself and smiled along at the home truths contained within the song. Grace and I were hugely grateful for the many ways in which various people had so thoughtfully prepared all sorts of ways of marking my last official Sunday in the parish.

“We are so grateful for the support and kindness extended to us throughout our four years in Wargrave and this goodbye Sunday was just one of many occasions we will look back on with great fondness.”

Rev Cook thanked the family for their contribution to church life and said it would be sad to see them go.

He added: “It has been a privilege and joy to have Hugh as curate here. His parish ministry has been marked by his skills as a talented preacher and communicator, a passionate evangelist, his prayerfulness and him being a warm-hearted pastor.”

The family were presented with a card, which was full of messages from parishioners. Mr Barne said the pandemic had highlighted how “supportive and loving” the community was. He added: “One recent highlight of our time in the parish is being involved in the new family service. It has been wonderful to see this new congregation growing and drawing in people on a Sunday morning. We hope and pray that this growth will continue and that many will get the chance to examine the claims of Jesus and hear the good news he brings into people’s lives.

“I vividly remember realising the compelling truth of Jesus’ claims as a teenager and it is this memory that has made involvement in our annual holiday clubs such a privilege.

“We will take with us many other happy memories of local community life. Thank you to all who have made our last four years here so memorable, we will miss you.”

The new curate is Richard Eves who was ordained at a service in Oxford last month. He is moving to the village with his wife Melanie, 30, and their one-year-old daughter Alice, from north London.

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