My name is Richard Williams and in July this year I will have been the Vicar of Alveston for 26 years! The day after the 26th anniversary of my Induction to the Parish, Sunday 18th July, I will preside for the last time at the 9.15 Eucharist at St. Peter's Manor Road and the 10.30 Parish Eucharist at St. James'.
As many of you know, my wife Alex was ordained a few years ago and, after serving three years as curate of Kineton and the Edge Hill Benefice, she is now Rector of St. Bridget's West Kirby on the Wirral, where we both are from originally. The Church we both attended and where we were married is the next door parish to St. Bridget's, St. Andrew's, West Kirby, but at present they do not accept the ministry of women priests.
In July I will be moving to be with her there. At present I have no plans with regard to work but I am close to retirement age. Yes, I know, it's hard to believe!
One of the great benefits of being in a parish for such a long time is that you get to know the people really well. there are families for whom I have conducted all the essential 'rites of passage', baptisms, weddings and funerals. I have conducted the weddings of many I have known since they were at Primary School, which has been a great joy and privilege, often followed by baptisms of their children! This is a feature of my life that I shall greatly miss.
I have been married for nearly 37 years to Alex and we have four ‘children’, all of whom are now grown up and left home, the youngest, Lucy, is just completing her first year at Nottingham University.
The Parish have already begun the task of preparing to look for my successor and I very much hope and pray that they will find someone to take forward our inclusive and friendly ways.
I hope to see many of you at my farewell gatherings over the weekend of 17/18 July. And may I wish you all Godspeed.