Six years ago I offered to help for one or two Sundays a month at a group of churches not far from here. It would just be for a few months.
Over the last six years I have led worship on 222 Sundays. conducted fifteen funerals, three weddings and twelve baptisms. I have prepared two people for Confirmation, visited the sick, and offered pastoral care.
In return I have been loved and appreciated, supported when facing major surgery, helped to recover from a mental breakdown, and encouraged as I have faced increasing disability. I have been given tomato plants, flowers, cakes, wine and gin. Those lovely people have laughed at my crummy jokes, forgiven me my boo-boos and made me one of their own.
Later this month they are getting their own vicar and I shall move on to other places where there is no priest available. Yesterday I took my final service for the Brocklesby Park Group of Churches. I cried then and I am crying as I write this. I left with prayers, blessings and an incredibly generous gift. Thank you.