Paul has been offered and accepted the post of House for Duty Associate Vicar in the Shrivenham and Ashbury benefice in the Oxford Diocese. His retirement from Devizes will take effect from the end of October, so all being well, we hope to see him back with us in September before he leaves the parish.

Please keep Paul and Katriona in your prayers as they prepare for their move to their new parish in the Vale of the White Horse.

 News from the Rector

Dear Friends,

I look forward to being declared fit to work again at the beginning of July, after nearly a year of struggling with my health. I became ill in July last year with what was eventually diagnosed, in October, as Polymyalgia Rheumatica. In April, after several attempts to get back to my duties, I became very ill indeed. The steroids I was taking for this condition had induced the onset of Diabetes. My blood sugar levels were sky high and I had little or no energy at all. It was on Good Friday that my Diabetes was diagnosed. I remember watching Captain Tom Moore walking up and down his garden on his frame, raising money for the NHS. I did not have the energy even to get to the end of our garden once, and he was ready to do a hundred laps of his!

In addition to ill health, like all of you we have been subject to the national lock-down resulting from the Coronavirus. I have had an opportunity for a great deal of reflection and soul-searching. It has provided space to think about priorities in life for self and family. It has enabled me to think about what best outcome there might be for parish and diocese after such a long-time off sick.

I have decided that the best option all round is for me to take early retirement and perhaps take up a house for duty post elsewhere. It will be sad to leave St John with St Mary after nearly thirteen years among you all. We have shared ups and downs together, joys and sorrows. Katriona and I have really enjoyed living in Devizes and have made good friends. I have valued so much the support and encouragement of colleagues, churchwardens, PCC members and the members of our congregations in my ministry among you. I have greatly appreciated the opportunities of Civic responsibilities and work across the Deanery, Diocese and Ecumenically. Much of this I have had to set aside during the time I have been ill. I will miss these challenges and opportunities, but I look forward to a gentler pattern of life with space and time for rest, reflection, and recreation.

Our new curate Gerry arrives just as I announce my departure. I am sure that you will welcome him to his first post in ordained ministry – starting with his licensing as a lay minister at the end of June and his ordination in September. He will be in good hands, not only with all of you good folk at St John with St Mary but also under the guidance  of two training ministers instead of just one, the Archdeacon, Ven Dr Sue Groom and the Rector of Cannings and Redhorn, Revd Richard Curtis.

I have a certain amount of accumulated holiday time to take. I expect to be on holiday for much of July and August, but I shall return to duties in September before I retire in October.

May I thank you all for the support of prayer, messages, cards, and gifts during these last months.  I wish you all the best for the future. May God’s grace uphold and support you all.