Like many other local clergy, we were invited to attend a retirement conference in September 2015 run by the diocese of St Albans. In preparation for this conference we had been thinking, praying and seeking God’s will about the appropriate way forward for many months.
We discovered at the conference that The Church of England offer retiring clergy houses to rent in their retirement. This can be a long and involved process, trying to find an appropriate home to retire to. At the beginning of our recent holiday in February we were unexpectedly offered the opportunity to see a property in Wells, Somerset. We went to Somerset for a few days and after viewing the house we decided to accept it. A great deal of work needs to be done by the Pensions Board as the landlord to bring it to an acceptable standard. We therefore plan to retire in the autumn of 2016, our eighteenth year of ministry together at Sunnyside and St John’s, Bourne End.
What happens now?
The Wardens, staff team and the PCC will need to plan for an interregnum [an interval between the periods of office of two incumbents in a parish]. There is so much going for these two parishes and although we’ll be immensely sad to leave and will find leaving our two church families and our beautiful home so difficult, we know this is the right time and feel this home in Wells, is God’s gift to us. We will do all we can to continue to strengthen and establish both churches on a firm footing in preparation for the interregnum and for our successors.
Therefore, please pray for both churches in this time of transition. Please support and encourage all those in leadership within the two churches. We will keep you up-to-date with what’s going on as the coming months unfold. We know that there will be many opportunities for sharing of plans and farewells, but let us finish by saying that our time here at Sunnyside and St John’s has been the longest time either of us has lived anywhere and leaving our two church families will be so very, very difficult and emotional for us.
We believe that God is preparing us for the next episode of the journey with Him to ‘love, grow and serve’ in a new context. Please continue to pray for us as we’ll continue to pray for you.
With all our love and prayers,
David & Isabel