Several weeks ago we left Brigg, North Lincolnshire for pastures new, near Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

I’ve never liked saying ‘goodbyes’ – call me sentimental if you will, but I agree with our great Bard: “parting is such sweet sorrow”. But time was up for us in those quarters, after 40 years living and working in northern Lincolnshire. In that time I served two church communities as minister – in Immingham and Brigg – for a total of 36 years. Whilst in Brigg I was privileged to represent the electorate as a member of the Town Council for two terms (8 years) – taking active part in the work of several committees, and ensuring the formation of a Community-led Plan. For a couple of those years my duties as Councillor were linked with responsibilities as Chaplain to the Town Mayor.

In those four decades I met and worked with many wonderful people, (some becoming long-term friends) and experienced numberless special moments, which will be treasured in my memories for the rest of my days.

This move necessitates wholesale changes, some of which may not be easy to negotiate, being uprooted from familar ‘comfort zones’ and transplanted into an unknown environment. But negotiate it we will, with all the thrills and spills, challenges and opportunities that may be presented. In particular I’m looking forward to establishing that rhythm of life mentioned previously:

finding-a-rhythm-of-life

I’m constantly recognising that change is inevitable, an integral part of the human experience – from the cataclysmic event we know as birth, when we’re dramatically driven from the safety of the womb into this insecure world, and on through the various life transitions (infancy, childhood, adolescence & adulthood) and then through that turbulent passage into the after-life, known as dying.

The Christian journey, I’m frequently reminded, is one of ceaseless change – from an initial call to ‘repentance’ (the Greek word which may be translated ‘change’) through a life-long process of spiritual transformation, culminating in that moment, described in St Paul’s words, when ‘the Lord Jesus Christ will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body’ – what an amazing prospect, which proved a major motivational factor in Paul’s life. Consider, for example, words he wrote in yet another letter: “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

As a fellow-pilgrim, until that sublime summit of aspiration, I’ll be endeavouring to keep the faith, and  continue to appreciate my good friends everywhere, but especially those in Lincolnshire.

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