Sunday, 14 August 2022

Farewell, thank you and God bless all

CHRISTMAS, New Year — it’s all a bit much for many of us. The celebrations seem to go on and on, as does the washing up after all those parties!

For myself and Anne, my wife, this year’s “party season” has been particularly challenging because we have known that we have been attending or arranging many of the events for the last time.

This weekend will mark the last Sunday that I will be rector of St Mary’s, Henley, and St Nicholas’ , Remenham, as I retire after 43 years in full-time ministry and after 13 years here in Henley.

The editor has kindly given me this opportunity to write my final Thought for the Week and I do so with a tremendous sense of gratitude, not only to Almighty God who, for whatever reason, called me to be the parish priest here, but also to all of you.

I have met such kindness, care and generosity over the last 13 years here and not just among those who are “regular” church goers.

Our community here in Henley has great strengths of compassion and humanity which support and sustain everyone. This is not, of course, to say that here we have found heaven on earth! Far from it. Human life is such that, sadly, selfishness and pride can very easily come to the fore.

Anne and I leave having thoroughly enjoyed our time here and we shall always remember Henley with great affection.

It has been a privilege to serve among you — and to enjoy all the bits and pieces of life we experience here.

In so doing, I am reminded that Jesus himself thoroughly enjoyed the company of others as well as enjoying time alone. He enjoyed a good party (we shall miss some of those!).

So we thank God, as I hope do all of you, for setting us, as the psalmist says, “in a fair ground”. God bless Henley (and Remenham!)

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