Letter from the Rector

Dear All,

This is the last time that I shall have the privilege of writing to you all. I came here to Malpas and Threapwood just over 10 years ago and it is 9 years since I became Incumbent of Holy Trinity Bickerton and the new benefice was created. It has been a privilege to serve as first Rector of the United Benefice . We have adventured together and I will always remember my years in this most lovely part of the Cheshire border country with much affection. I have enjoyed living in this area and as I commented soon after I arrived it has been a joy to travel around between visits and services as there is always a lovely view to see and appreciate and this at all times of the year. I have been truly blessed in every way and I take with me many happy memories. I have been made to feel at home in our communities from the very beginning and this helped me to settle in and to join in the various activities and events and as you will recall I even had a go at learning to ride a horse to take part in the Queens Diamond Jubilee Parade of 2012!! I thank those who have served with me in the 2 parishes and the running of the 3 churches as Church Wardens, PCC Members and Secretaries and Treasurers and all Church Officers, Leaders of Groups, the wonderful editors of this marvellous Parish News and the “army” of people who quietly make sure week by week that “the church is kept for you and me” and Margaret and Karen by helping me over the years here in the Parish Office at The Rectory and also my colleagues Fr Antony and Revd Helen who have enriched all our lives and my ministry with their friendship, special gifts, insights and ideas.

I thank Canon Peter Lee who has been so much a part of my ministry here and the other clergy of the deanery who have helped out as well in these parishes. I have been greatly blessed to be part of the worshipping life of the parishes and so I salute The Late Bob Carter Verger, and Ann the new Verger, Stewart and the superb choir at St Oswald’s, to Shelia for playing the organ for Evening Prayer each week so sensitively, to Ben Kellett and the excellen team of Tower Bell Ringers at St Oswald’s and to all the team at St John’s and to Gill at St John’s and her wonderful choice of hymns that reflects not only the season of the churches year but also how we all feel and to all the team at Holy Trinity and to Rachael at Holy Trinity whose choice of hymns brings to life the lovely mixture of styles we use and who treats us to the tunes of my favourite film “The Sound of Music” as well before many services! We have also been greatly blessed by being part of the wider church in our communities in High Street Church and Brown Knowl Church and (until is sadly closed) St Joseph’s Malpas and our special link with Tallarn Green Methodist Church.

It has been a great privilege to work alongside Mr Sweetnam and the team at Holy Trinity Church School and Mrs Worthington and the team at Malpas Alport School as a governor and also to be able to go into both schools to take assemblies. I have been enriched and enlivened by being allowed to be a part of these truly great places of learning for life in every way. It has also been a privilege to be invited into Bishop Heber High School across the years

and to welcome them to St Oswald’s for their most impressive Carol Service each year and to be present at the most moving Remembrance Tide Assembly in school each November. It hasalso been a privilege to be Chaplain to 617 ATC Squadron and I thank them and wish them well for the future.

I also record the privilege of being involved in the life of Prospect House and so being a small part of the wonderful team who offer such care there as I was also at Old Hall Residential Home. Amongst the most precious memories are the ones from those who I have met across  these years be that at Craddock Court where we have had our monthly Communion Services  or at the many clubs and society’s in the area or on the High Street in Malpas or at village gatherings in Malpas, Threapwood and Bickerton. Each community is so special and it has been a privilege to work with the Parish Councils and I go with so many happy memories.

Sadly some of those I have met and known have now passed to glory but to those who read this letter right across these villages I want to say a heartfelt thank you for your support, your  friendship and fellowship. I leave you to retire from full time ministry much enriched by the  years amongst you.

I was ordained in 1987 and served my title in Blacon Chester with Canon Tony Boyd to whom I owe a debt of gratitude in the wonderful training that he and the folk of Holy Trinity gave me that has been at the centre of all I have tried to do in West Kirby Wirral from 1991 to 1997 and then in Oxton, Birkenhead in both church and in Birkenhead School from 1997 till I came here in 2010. The years seem to have gone very quickly!!

It has also been a privilege to serve as Rural Dean of both Birkenhead and Malpas and in both deaneries I have been a part of wonderful teams of clergy and laity in our service to Our Lord and Saviour. My thanks to Marion Randles Lay Chairperson and The Revd Tim Hayward Chapter Clerk and all colleagues both clerical and lay for all their support, fellowship and friendship which has enriched my life. I remain a Chaplain to the Queen till I am 70.

I know that there is more ministry in store for me in Gods good purposes but in a new way now. Very soon you will all be entering a new phase in the life of the churches, schools and communities around here and that is right as God’s plan is an enfolding of that greater plan that we can all be part of as we seek His will for our lives. I ask His blessing on you all. I will miss you and will never cease to pray for you with gratitude and thankfulness for all you have given to me.

This last year of Covid 19 has been a very difficult time for us all and so I salute all those who have made it possible to open our churches and for worship when it has been possible or felt right to be open and to those who have made possible the videos/weekly sheets/Wednesday Wave of Prayer/ Julian Group Letter/Social media and Website as a means of keeping in touch and to those who have done that by telephoning others.

In farewell, where I have been able to do any good may The Lord’s name be glorified, where I have failed or acted clumsily I ask your forgiveness and pardon.

May God bless us all. Ian, Rector.

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