We are now reaching the final stages of transitioning my base for ministry from the Mint to Sidmouth. This has been a protracted process and quite different to the normal protocol. However throughout the process the motivation behind the decisions has been missional. This has meant that 18 months ago I ceased being the Superintendent of the circuit, and instead took up a position leading the project in the Sidmouth community. Because of the success of that initiative which exceeded our expectations the circuit was keen to consolidate that work. Therefore through the invitations process I was offered a five year extension to my current circuit appointment with a specific remit for the eastern section of the circuit. That allowed for a year extension on the project work, and also becoming the minister in pastoral charge of Sidmouth and Sidford churches. In addition with an awareness of the longer term goals I was asked to move house to Sidmouth, which happened in January this year. It is hoped that the dovetailing of the project work and the more familiar church work can develop over the next 18 months and beyond. For you as a congregation it has meant a longer period of change than normal. From residing at the Mint throughout the week in my first five years. Eighteen months ago I had to reduce my connection to two days a week, and from the beginning of February that has reduced still further such that I am only in the Mint one day a week. The conclusion of this transition will happen on Easter Sunday when I will cease being the minister of the Mint. I must stress again that the motivation behind all this upheaval has been missional, which I hope eases some of the angst the process has caused.
I will remain in pastoral charge of the Mint until Easter day, after which time Brian Hadfield will take over and offer the same hours as I currently do. You may see him prior to Easter, as he will be working alongside me and the pastoral team on various matters.
Change is never easy, but when that change is outside of our control, and if we don’t know why that change is happening it makes matters worse. If I am to blame for the uncertainty around this matter I apologise, but some of the lack of knowledge has been out of my control. I have always found being the minister of the Mint both stimulating and rewarding and to know that my interaction with you is almost at an end is very sad. In many ways it would have been easier to have a clean stopping point for ministry. Yet deep down I know that life isn’t clean and straightforward, because we do not live in a vacuum. The situation with regards to the project has forced the circuit into action, and the knock on consequences for the Mint are still being felt.
I wish to conclude by reiterating that this is a special place. When you look at the bigger picture of the Mint, and what we are involved in seven days a week then it is good. There are always areas for improvement, such as better relations, improved connections between mid week activities and Sunday activities, relationships with other churches and organisations of the city, but the bottom line is, I have always found it a rewarding place in which to be involved in ministry. Therefore my heartfelt thanks for the journey.
With my regards