Sunday 12 July 2015

Emotional goodbyes

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The previous Sunday was the last service for Fr Barry the rector of the local parish church who is retiring. The building was packed with some people having to stand. The full choir were present including the juniors. 

A spread of food, cakes and drinks were ready at the back of the church for everyone to celebrate the event. This is what Fr Barry wanted, the whole event to be a celebration, but after being the parish priest for ten years it's very hard to say goodbye to someone you have got to know over that time, and not feel emotional about it. 

I can honestly say he is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and someone who truly believed in the message he wanted to pass onto others. With his wife Diane by his side they made a lovely couple that brought the community together with a warmth, and belief, that was infectious.

He will be missed. 

The previous day my son had been boating on the Norfolk Broads with his Beaver group. One of the volunteers of his group is Mrs King, although we share the same surname we are not related. She is also a server at the Church and also a teacher at my children's primary school where Fr Barry took a weekly assembly. The weather on the Saturday was just gorgeous although it rained on the Sunday. Fr Barry made a joke about it during his sermon because it was raining on the very first day he turned up. 

I took my swimmers along with me and a picnic for the family. During the breaks from boating my daughter and son swam with me in the broads while the wife took pictures on the side. I tried to entice her in, but she was quite happy to just soak up the sun. Mrs King was there with her usual enthusiasm alongside the other Beaver and Scout helpers. It was a busy weekend because on the Sunday my son's football team were playing in a major football tournament organised by Norwich City Football in the Community .

My Mother-in-Law had volunteered to take him in the morning, and we joined them afterwards when we had said our final emotional goodbyes  to Fr Barry and his wife after the service. Because of the heavy rain we had received a call requesting us to bring coats for the other men who voluntary run the football team.

That's what makes a great community, volunteers! People who give their own time and resources freely to others without asking, or expecting anything back in return. This is the simple message of friendship that shone from Fr Barry like a beacon in a dark world, and I give thanks that I have been lucky to experience this, and to Fr Barry.



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