Bishop Rob's Final Service
We were delighted that so many could join us For Bishop Rob & Janine final service with us on 16th August. Here are a few pictures.
Thanks must go to Bishop Rob and Janine for all their camera work and presentation skills that they have been sharing with us since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown.
Here we see the final pre-production meeting before Sunday's service
Ray Wright, our Verger for many years has decided that the time has come for him to retire from this important post and Bishop Rob presented him with a thank you gift from us all. Thank you Ray for all you have done from all of us!!
Churchwarden Sally, PCC Secretary Freda and PCC Treasurer Julie present Bishop Rob with gifts for him and for Janine.
Heartfelt thanks to you both from all of us here at St John's
and Bishop Rob writes to us all:
As you all know I was given to you by the Diocese for eighteen months and you accepted me so graciously. I was given a half time contract with you , the other half was to be as an Hon Assistant Bishop. That time has come to an end. I have now been called to serve in the Southwark Diocese in London as Assistant Bishop with responsibility for the Arts and serve the parish of Christ Church Streatham Hill. We are looking to forward to receiving the same welcome there that we received from this parish eighteen months ago.
Both Janine and I were immediately made welcome and we set too to serve this parish and the Diocese of Lincoln. I have to say straight away how valuable Janine my wife is in supporting me and developing her own delightful and joyous ministry amongst you. She has so enjoyed the love she has received from you all. Together we have all seen the tremendous potential for serving the Kingdom of God in this place, and over this time so much has been realised - we have seen growth in numbers and a growing sense of joy and delight.
I have been delighted to have shared in ministry with parish officers and ALMs and to discover mutual support from our Church School. We have also enjoyed a very positive relationship with St Johns Care Home, with special support from Norva and Stephanie their carers.
The activities, which have included a regular drop in, a flower festival, and a number of fun fund raising events. We have enjoyed a well attended regular Bible Study group and other groups using the Church for various events. A Church community focussing too on the wider community.
Obviously the challenge has been to continue to worship through the lockdown and to care for those in the community who have had to be shielded. The parish has risen to the challenge and the pastoral care by the congregation has been second to none. We were determined to continue Sunday worship via YouTube and more recently by live Zoom. With the enthusiastic support of Lawrence and Margaret, spending many hours each week creating imaginative liturgies as well as hosting the website. It has been a steep learning curve for us all, but the ministry team have risen to the challenge. I must also thank Janine who has offered to film each service so professionally.
Rev Pat, as Assistant Priest, has been a wonderful colleague for me and has always agreed to share in any pastoral needs along with sharing the leading of worship and engaging in the occasional offices and the needs of the school as a governor with such sensitivity.
I have been supported by the team of officers - Churchwarden Sally, nothing is ever too much for her and she has taken everything in her stride, Parish Secretary Freda who has been so efficient regarding PCC meetings, and PCC Treasurer Julie, always making time for me and my many requests. I am grateful for Margaret who looks after the rotas and Ray our Verger who has only very recently indicated his wish to retire. Hillary and Maggie have delighted the children Sunday by Sunday and also contributed to the All Age Worship each month with such wonderful imagination. Hospitality has been a very important part of evangelism and the catering team has been superb, not forgetting those who have adorned the church with wonderful flower displays.
Thanks too to Anne who has had some challenges in regards to keeping the Church thoroughly cleaned recently but has always been very positive. After all, Cleanliness is next to Godliness!
Chris has accompanied us with music and we have been so grateful for our inspiring choir members. Chris has also encouraged Lloyd and Steph to support him in accompanying the worship into the future.
Chris, Mary, Elizabeth, Yvonne and Josie have served in the Sanctuary with tremendous dedication. Many thanks to Chris too for being the editor of our parish Magazine a vital part of communicating the joys of the parish. Betty has brought the Mothers Union contribution to engage fully in the life of the Church. Nick has provided Evening Prayer each Sunday. We have also been given support from Rev John and his clergy team from St Mary and St Nicolas, including their parish office, and from Rev Paul at St Paul’s. I have been so grateful for the support of Fr Alan who has been such a joy to share ministry with.
All have relied upon a team made up of members of the congregation to support these ministries and they have not been disappointed. I have been so grateful for the ongoing pastoral care in the parish.
My thanks too to Paul, our School Principal, who has been so supportive along, with our very own Michael as Chair of Governors.
Thanks too to a dynamic PCC and our team of ALMs who have supported the mission and ministry with dedication.
It is now time to look forward with excitement and expectation to the next chapter of the life of the parish . My last Sunday was on the weekend when we celebrated the Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary and heard of her excitement at bringing the Son of God into the world. Humble and obedient. Our task is to welcome Him into our lives to be ‘born in us’ too in the same way.
As I write I know we have received interest from a prospective incumbent and the possibility of our parish being supported by a fund to resource an exciting mission to our growing parish. Please pray for wisdom and discernment and add this to the top of your prayer list.
My parting gift is a video entitled ‘The Visit’ which can be found on our website stjohnsspalding.org which imagines what it would it would be like to welcome Jesus into the parish. I do hope you enjoy it and that it might provide spiritual food for thought.
For me my focus has always been the love of God through a Christ- centred Church fuelled with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
I have always known that ‘Good bye’ is short for ‘God be with you’. So I offer you a very positive GOODBYE! and GOD BLESS. We have loved every minute of being part of this Church family.
Yours in Christ
Bishop Rob and Janine xx
PS We received a number of very thoughtful gifts and cards on our final Sunday from parishioners and from the parish as a whole. You have all been so generous. Thank you so much.
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