News from Lynnette
The last two years have given me both wonderful and difficult experiences, each of which has been life changing for me. These recent events have made me continue to consider the future God has planned for me.
The decision to look at the prospects has come through a series of events. I recently met with Bishop John to thank him for his support at this difficult time and for prayer about my future ministry Then, unexpectedly, I was enabled to attend the ordination service for Catherine in Durham where I was reminded once more of my own vocation to ordination and what God has called me to. During that day I met with Bishop Mark Bryant, once Archdeacon in this diocese and had the opportunity to talk to him about John’s death. His word shocked and astonished me as his immediate reaction was to say ‘you must move on, leave.’ ‘Where did that come from’ I asked. ‘I don’t know’ replied Mark and laughed. To both of us it felt like a word of prophecy.
Subsequently a few weeks ago I was approached by the diocesan staff and asked if I would consider an ‘Extended Placement’ to St Alban Church in Stoke Heath to provide pastoral care and a point of focus for the church and the community for two or three years. I have met with the Area Dean, the churchwardens and a small team from the church and they are keen for me to join them. A final date has not be agree but I have indicated I would be available from 20 October.
Andy has understood that even before he came to us that John and I were thinking about our future. I want to stress that this has been my initiative. In the meantime Andy and I were planning how we were to going to work together and it was surprise to both of us that this opportunity has come so quickly.
I am really grateful for the full support and love and care I have received from absolutely everyone, especially during the interregnum and this past difficult year.
It will be really hard moving on after so many wonderful years here but I can say with certainty we never know what is in front of us or what God will ask any of us to do. You will remain in my prayers but please do pray for me and the congregation at St Alban over the coming months.
So thank you all once again
Andy's response ...
When I arrived at St Christopher's, I was looking forward to working with Lynnette - I knew that it was such an asset to have someone already in leadership who knew and loved the church community so well. Before I officially began as vicar we spent the morning together, dreaming dreams, and I asked her advice on where my areas of priority should be. In the following weeks I was grateful for her wise counsel and support, and expected that this would continue in the years to come.
Of course, things don't work out as we expect. John's illness and diagnosis was devastating, and while it was right that Lynnette dedicated everything to his care, I think I speak for everyone when I say that her ministry was missed, especially in the period of transition with changes to our worship pattern. Spending time with John, as his illness progressed, and then taking his funeral alongside Graeme was incredibly difficult, but also a huge privilege, as was meeting with Lynnette in the months since his death. I think we both knew that things would be different from now on, but I was looking forward to seeing how we would work together in this new chapter of the church's life and Lynnette's life.
Again, things don't work out as we expect. God's ways are different. I was shocked and sad when Lynnette said that she had been asked to consider this position and might be leaving us, but I when I looked at her, I realised something significant. She was more peaceful, more excited, more radiant than she had been since John's death. It made me think that this might just be the right thing, even if it wouldn't be the easiest thing for our church, or even Lynnette.
Lynnette will be greatly missed - personally and professionally - as a friend as well as a colleague, but I'm excited that God is at work, as he always is, to bring new life out of death, and fresh hope and purpose. A new chapter has begun!