Rev Gary Crellin - Pastoral Letter, May 2018

Well, the time has come. This will be my last Pastoral Letter. It all seems rather unreal as I write this, thinking that in a few weeks, after four years as the curate in our Wychebrook Group of churches, Alison and the girls and I will be venturing to pastures new over in the Malverns. It is an exciting prospect as well as a rather scary one. The boxing up for a start!

Certainly, the one thing that I won’t be without is the catalogue of wonderfully happy memories that I have. I want to say thank you for all your love, encouragement and support because it hasn’t always been easy. There have been some tough times to work through across a benefice that is still, in management speak “storming, forming and norming” and on a personal level, I think I have been storming, forming and norming too.

Rev’d Wyn, last month, stole my thunder through the use of this quote of the late great Ken Dodd -  “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”.  Little did I know what was in store for me when we moved to the area 15 years ago -  as well as having a delightful area to raise our family, it was – surprisingly- preparation to get me ready to be a Priest and to serve.

Jesus regarded His disciples as friends and that is certainly how I view you. I have never pretended to be perfect or to have all the answers. I apologise now to anyone who feels that I have let them down or irritated because it was never intentional. Some of you have irritated me along the way, but that has been useful and formative. My main concern has always been to communicate and share the incredible love that God has for each of you, whether you’re Church members or not, believers or not. I have tried, in my own limited and all too human way, to demonstrate that love to you in deed as well as word. Thank you for supporting the foodbanks and the Romanian Shoe Box appeals.  I hope they will last.

I have laughed with those who laugh and I have certainly cried with those who cried. I thank you for allowing me the privilege of being part of your lives especially during those special life moments: the fun at the Star Wars or Paddington themed baptisms; weddings on horseback or on a double decker bus, or with dog ring bearers; the huge village funerals, the nursing home communions. The immense fun of a packed church for a school service – the pressure of judging cakes and Easter bonnets. Presenting “church” reverently but not in a stuffy manner. Trying different things, working in new areas such as Callow Hill. I hope that I have left a legacy of love, service and the left in you with a memory of someone who made you happy so you can enjoy being a child of God.  I am sorry if you are still in therapy for the mere mention of your curate in speedo’s! 

Curates come and go, but the love of God remains, so does the freedom that God offers to each of us. With grateful thanks to Rev Wyn and the ministry and worship team across the benefice for creating such a rich and valuable training environment for me. Remember your church, and all that it stands for, is in the centre of the community.  Good luck and blessings to each and every one of you.  

Rev Gary