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In January of next year I will have been in Dedham for twenty years. It will also be my last month with you as the Vicar and Lecturer of Dedham. It has been170 years since a Vicar of Dedham has resigned, other than for their retirement, so this community can be forgiven for being rather out of practice in dealing with such an announcement.
News of my departure will not be a surprise, however, to those who have been working closely with me over the past year or so since the death of Margarita, my beloved wife, who was to many of you a dear friend and to even more a kind nurse. And yet my decision to leave at this time is not only for personal reasons. After prayer and waiting upon God, I realise that I have been here long enough and that the people of Dedham need a fresh approach to Christian ministry.
I am therefore grateful that I have received an invitation to be the Chaplain of Bloxham School, in Oxfordshire, and this I have recently accepted. I will endeavour to use my remaining time in ministry so as to be a source of God’s blessing to young people.
There are a few months more for us to work together before I leave. I pray that each one of you will support and encourage the Churchwardens and Parochial Church Council, and the trustees of the Dedham Ecclesiastical Lectureship Trust (who as patrons will have a part in choosing my successor), in what will certainly be a challenging time ahead for them - so that together you may seek the Lord’s will for who will be called to serve Him in this fine parish.
When the time comes, I will leave with very great gratitude to God for the years that I and my family have had among you. Then, as St. Paul put it in his letter to the Philippians (3:14):
"I’ll press on to reach the end of the race and to receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
Vicar & Lecturer