This must be my good-bye letter. In case the Brightwell grape-vine has failed you, I need to announce that I will be leaving at the end of February and taking up a new post in the Diocese from the beginning of April. My new job will be as a "Parish Development Adviser" rather than as a parish priest, with a special emphasis on promoting mission and evangelism in the Berkshire Archdeaconry. It is a big area and I shall be spending much more time in a car and probably far less on my bike (which may be a relief for those who have expressed shock on recognising a vicar underneath the cycle helmet).
I am looking forward to the new challenges - of which there are many - but I shall miss Brightwell-cum-Sotwell enormously. I want to thank you for the warmth you have shown me and the trust that you placed in me. I have seen the church grow in confidence over the last couple of years, having fun and, at St Agatha's, looking to improve the building to make it more of an amenity to the whole village. If you haven't called in on the Thursday Coffee Morning yet, do give it a try; you'll find all sorts of people to chat to - and the cakes are fantastic.
I shall, like an ageing pop group, be doing a farewell tour of the parishes: a.. Sunday 20 February at 11am: Parish Communion at Crowmarsh Gifford. b.. Wednesday 23 February at 7.30pm in Crowmarsh village Hall: Team Farewell. c.. Sunday 27 February at 9.30am: All Age Communion at St Agatha's. d.. Sunday 27 February at 10.45am: Parish Farewell in the Village Hall.
It would be lovely to see as many of you as possible at these events; please do feel welcome at church, even if you are not a regular church-goer. I have always enjoyed occasions like Remembrance Day, or the Jubilee where village and church come together in the "house of God".
It will take some time to appoint a new Team Vicar and so David Rice, our Team Rector, will be the person to contact about Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and memorial stones. His address is: The Revd. David Rice, 22 Castle Street, Wallingford OX10 8DW. You can call him on 202188 and email him on firstname.lastname@example.org His usual day off is Saturday.
I would like to leave you with a prayer of blessing (mostly from St. Paul): Live in peace, be very courageous, hold on to what is good, do not return evil for evil, strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the afflicted, honour all people, love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit; and may the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you always. Amen. With love,