Thank you for coming tonight. I want to share with you three bits of prose!
First from my primary school leaving report….. it read –
‘James is cheerful child and shows some promise but can talk too much’. Do you recognise that report? Talkative? Me? Yes! Will twenty minutes do? Let’s see!
I am deeply grateful to the Governors for their support and trust. We have travelled well together, facing our ups and down, our challenges and opportunities in a place and work that is infinitely worthwhile and precious. To my colleagues, past and present, thank you for your readiness to respond, your partnership for the charity and its work – school, court, housing Church and Leveson Centre. To the wider community that forms a part of the connection and affection that holds us together – thank you – and there are always opportunities to share and contribute.
Second – from a letter from an old Temple Balsall man:
‘I have been associated with Temple Balsall for over 60 years and you definitely rate as one of the top four vicars in that time!’
He didn’t give me a position in that number of four. But it is a reminder that Temple Balsall had a long history before I arrived in 1998 and will certainly have a long history beyond next week. I am a bird of passage. This place – unique and special as it is – is always bigger than any individual.
And it is always ‘work in progress’. I have received as much as I have given. You have helped me to grow and develop – don’t forget when I arrived in 1998 I did not tick all of your boxes – I have grown in thy work together with you. It has been great fun. We have had some wonderful times together – and in those moments of crisis and tragedy we have stayed close to one another.
Third – A young girl was heard to pray ‘God, make all the bad people good, and make all good people nice’
I sometimes feel that religion doesn’t make us better people – and the self-consciously good can be very boring! But this place, this community is both a good place and full of nice people. I shall miss you – and always remember you with affection.
A new ministry awaits, a different place, but worship, people,faith and service are part of the work of St. George’s Windsor.
Much has been made of the move as a step upwards.
I am reminded of the Ethiopian proverb about the monkey. It goes ‘Beware! The further up the tree the monkey climbs the more you can see his bottom!’ A warning especially to those who might think more highly of themselves than we might!
Good humour; a desire not to take ourselves too seriously and bonds of real affection are what we all need wherever we are and whatever we do.
Thank you and let me propose a toast – to The Foundation of Lady Katherine Leveson.