So the time has come. Farewells are always very hard, but for all of us the time comes for change and new beginnings.
We have loved our time in Faringdon, and it has been an amazingly fruitful and rewarding time. Our boys have loved growing up in All Saints’, and enjoying being part of a church where children and young people are so strongly included and valued. We are especially grateful for all the children’s and young people’s leaders who have encouraged them and helped them, along with the many other young people in our congregation. As a whole family we have felt very much loved and cared for, especially in the years when we were struggling to care for our autistic son James at home.
I’d also like to thank All Saints’ congregation for such a wonderful commitment to our work together, especially in the challenging times such as when we had to face the extra cost of excavating “the 341” – it has been amazing the way everyone has pulled together!
I have also loved ministering at St Mary’s. The small congregation at Little Coxwell have been consistently helpful, positive and affirming – facing and meeting every challenge and it has been always a pleasure to be there sharing in worship and fellowship.
There are of course many challenges ahead. With the completion of the Barber Rooms, a new chapter has begun for All Saints’. Faringdon itself is changing – the growth and new building is making a huge difference to the character of the town, and the task of being a church for the whole community is an ever changing challenge. At the same time the Barber Rooms themselves are creating many new opportunities to welcome and engage with the community around us.
I am confident that All Saints’ and St Mary’s will meet whatever challenges lie ahead, trusting in God’s help and guidance. And it’s not about waiting for a new Vicar – the work of the church will continue through the vacancy, with new initiatives as well. For example, the second of our newly restarted “God in our Lives” evenings will happen later this month, and a new initiative is currently being planned – the PCC have invited Pam de Wit to lead Training sessions on “Welcome Everybody” in January – a very important initiative – do get the dates in your diary! Of course it will be all the more important that everything is undergirded by prayer. A new prayer evening is planned in October and monthly thereafter.
So it’s good to know that though the Drapers are leaving, the journey for All Saints’ and St Mary’s is continuing without a pause! It only remains for Jane and I to say thank you so much for all we have shared together and our love, prayers and warmest wishes to you all,