As many of you will have now heard back in June this year Bishop Christopher, the Bishop of Lincoln, asked me to consider taking on a new parish. This was not something I was seeking or expecting and so was a bit of a surprise to say the least. He promised that there wouldn't be a "black mark" against me if I said no, but since he, my Bishop, has asked, I decided I had to at least take him seriously and have a look. Candace and I duly went to the parish, had a look round and felt that I needed to seriously consider the situation. After 8 days of prayer, during which I spoke with some of my most trusted confidants and advisors, I decided that I had to pursue the matter further. I, thus, became the Bishop's preferred candidate for the Parish of Frodingham and New Brumby in Scunthorpe. Having then met with the parish reps and churchwardens in that parish, we all agreed that we could work together and that it seemed a good thing that I should be their new vicar. The long wait then began for the process to work through. Finally it was announced on the 16th September that I would be the new vicar there and that my final Sunday would be 14th October in Market Deeping and that I'd be installed and inducted in Frodingham St Lawrence on the 8th November. Things have, suddenly happened very quickly.
I want to assure you of two things. Firstly, that I wasn't seeking to leave Market Deeping, I've had over 15 and a half very happy years here, my family have grown up here and Candace has started her career in local government too. However, sometimes the Holy Spirit gives you a kick up the backside and says "Oi, stop sitting in your comfort zone, you need to do this!" The Bishop's suggestion was just such a kick. Secondly, although most of you are used to me now, (I'm almost one of the fixtures and fittings in the community!), the parish existed for over 650 prior to my arrival and will be there for a lot longer after I am gone. The Kingdom of Heaven is still to come, and that is what we are all working towards. Nothing is dependent upon me, it's all dependent upon God, so trust in him for the future.
Saying goodbye is never easy but I am starting to do that now, I have so many people I have met, directly or indirectly, and hope to be able to say farewell to most, if not all of you. If I don't manage that, and you can't make church on the 14th October, please know how grateful I am for all the support, prayers and help I have received in my time here, all the love shown to my family and me. We will miss you all, leaving will be a wrench indeed. However, I truly believe that this is the correct challenge for me and my ministry and I also believe it is time for this parish to start a new chapter without me. I am sure whoever comes after me with not only have your love and support but will be the person to help you grow closer to God and closer to ushering in the Kingdom of God.
Be sure of my continued love and prayers for you all, now and always,
Philip Brent, Rector.