The View - November 2018
Goodbye to Philip and Candace
On Sunday 14th October Philip took his last service at St Guthlac's. By a happy coincidence it was an all-age Eucharist celebrating Harvest as well as paying tribute to his fifteen and a half years' ministry with us. The church was packed with regular parishioners, lots of families and many people who had come in especially for the occasion. It was clear (not that we didn't already appreciate the fact) that Philip's influence had reached out into the community far beyond the regular congregation.
The church was glowing with autumn colours thanks to Pam and her team, we sang the familiar, well-loved harvest hymns and Philip invited the children present to come and "make a harvest" by enacting the roles of sunshine, rain, plants, farmers, middle-men and finally supermarkets as he emphasised our responsibility to make sure every part in the chain worked well with God and mankind working in harmony. Not even the pouring rain outside and the gentle drip from an unexpected leak inside could dampen what was a wonderful upbeat final service.
Philip and Candace had managed to turn blind eyes to the table groaning with presents and deaf ears to the progress of the card making its way around the congregation to be signed, but eventually this was no longer required. The photographer arrived, cups of tea and squash were brought to people in the pews and Philip and Candace were summoned to the front. A magnificent cake, made by Rachael Beesley, was presented, cut and portioned out while Kate Brown said a few words saying that we were looking ahead with a little sadness, a degree of trepidation, some excitement but most of all with confidence; a confidence that had been engendered by Philip in his ministry with us. She hoped that they were feeling the same emotions, with their confidence coming from the knowledge that they were going to a place God had called and equipped them to serve in.
Nigel Bacon, having been overseas when the Brents arrived had contrived to be in the Isle of Wight as they departed but he'd left a message to be read out, commending Philip's qualities of leadership and appreciating his collaborative and encouraging approach to ministry.Philip was presented with a glass tankard engraved with an image of
St Guthlac's Church and Candace was given a glass flower vase with a
similar engraving. Naturally a tankard needed something to put in it so there was a case of locally brewed beer. Just as naturally a vase needed flowers but Candace's bunch of roses was just a token; a proper bouquet will be sent to their new home. There was also a framed photograph of the church, a card from the Young Explorers and a weighty cheque.
In his thank you speech Philip said he had been asked what his new parishes had that we hadn't and his reply was that it was more what they didn't have and that was why he was going, to a place and a community that needed him. However, he was leaving us with a present; his son Aidan who now lives and works in Peterborough, and he will continue to sing in the choir and serve on church working parties. The formalities over, there was plenty of time for Philip and Candace to mingle and for people to say their personal goodbyes to a couple who have been part of our communal life for what seems like far more than fifteen and a half years.
Market Deeping wishes Philip and Candace all the best in their new community and home.