Pastoral Letter: w/e 21st November 2020

Dear Friend from Bridport United, Uploders Methodist or Hope and Radipole United Reformed Churches,

I usually try to use my communication with you as an update you on what is happening in the church and fellowship as a way of keeping pastorally up to date.  And it has, it seems to me, been one of the positives about this difficult period that not only are folk ringing around and keeping personally in touch with each other, but you have been receiving either weekly or fortnightly updates from me?

Well this latest update is a bit more personal and will in fact be the last one that I shall be composing in the current Bridport manse. 

Why?  Well, as quite a number of you know already, this Friday 20th November, Sue and I are moving out into our own house as a first step towards retirement, which is pencilled in for Autumn 2021.  As it happens, there have been pros and cons to doing this during lockdown but, overall it has worked out OK, I think.

My justifications for retiring a few years earlier than the statutory retirement age are threefold.  Firstly, Sue is a little older than me and has been retired some years already and we just feel it would be good for us as a couple to plan to have some years of active retirement together.  Secondly, having taken the decision to carry on living in the town that I have been the Minister in, it makes some sense to have a toe dipped in the water in the place we shall hope to live for some years now rather than doing so at a later date in the midst of stepping down from my current duties.  And thirdly, I have to confess that the last couple of years have been rather harder on me than I had admitted (or hopefully shown!!) and I wish to step down while I can fire on most of my cylinders and fulfil the role properly and fully.  In other words the next ten months or so will not be ‘winding down to retirement’ but, rather I shall hope to be working at my usual full-throttle pace while I can!

So, in other words, apart from a change of base, it will be a case of steady as we go.  There will inevitably be a degree of chaos as moves rarely work exactly as planned, but I am hopeful that the planning that has gone into this move will work as seamlessly as possible?

All contact details i.e. telephone no. and email will remain the same … and I shall look forward to reporting next time from my new base.  Hopefully with a fresh perspective!

Finally, before we get onto service option, a repeat message about Bridport United Church plans to collect new and nearly new toys for families whose children may not get much of a Christmas this year, to be distributed with the hampers collected by our friends at St. Mary’s.  If you were considering donating, please contact Sue Herman to arrange dropping off the toys?  We hope to have a blessing of the toys on 6th December if the lockdown has eased as is currently planned?  Also a reminder of the request to join the Ad Sales Team for The Bridge? 

With love and prayers for you,

Your Minister,