Seaton Road Methodist Church - Felixstowe
© Seaton Road Methodist Church 2010 - present
Moving On To Pastures New
Rev’d Rob Anning writes: It is hard to believe that five years have passed so quickly and it is time for Pat and I to move on to pastures new; this time to Banbury in Oxfordshire.
Five years ago, you were probably wondering: what are we getting next? Well, now you know. And in Banbury, there are Methodists like yourselves who are asking the same question!
This will be our fourth move. We started in Sale Circuit, Manchester, before moving to Widnes in Cheshire, which led us to Ipswich Circuit and to Felixstowe in particular.
As I look back on 20 years of ministry, there has certainly been a progression. I have grown, changed and learnt from new experiences. What I learnt in the Sale Circuit (and there was an awful lot to learn just starting out) prepared me for Widnes. What I learnt in Widnes prepared me for Felixstowe. And in all three of those appointments, I have been able to use all that I learnt in my 23 years in the printing industry before candidating for ministry.
I am happy for you to answer the question that you must have asked five years ago: what are we getting next? What I can say with some certainty is that every time I have moved, Pat and I have been convinced that we have been where God intended us to be. He prepared us for the task in hand, and during our five years in the Ipswich Circuit, he has been preparing us for our next step.
So what will I be taking with me from Felixstowe to Banbury?
Pat and I have loved living in Suffolk and in particular, in Felixstowe. I am surprised how many people don’t really know what they have on their doorsteps. So, we are taking happy memories of places visited. I can say that I have benefitted enormously from my experiences at the Port of Felixstowe, which has shown me that we have a message of “good news” to share but have yet to find the courage and the most effective ways of sharing it. I have learnt a lot about rural ministry, having spent most of my ministry in an urban context. With Banbury Circuit having 18 churches, of which 17 are rural chapels, that should come in handy.
But most of all we take with us happy memories of friendships made among the Methodist congregations, which have shown a willingness to change, albeit occasionally with some reluctance, but recognizing with honesty that we cannot stay as we are for ever.
Pat and I are grateful to God, and to you all, for five happy years which have added to who we are, and hopefully will have made us more able to work for him in our next calling.