Rector's Goodbye Letter 

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

This is my last ‘Rector’s Letter’ before leaving the parishes of Eastry, Northbourne, Staple, Tilmanstone and Woodnesborough. I guess I am not alone in finding saying goodbye difficult, and struggling to find the appropriate and consequential words to mark the occasion.

Perhaps the quote from Winnie-the-Pooh summarises it all very well – saying goodbye is hard when you are letting go of something which has been very special. Being a Parish Priest is an immense privilege in offering the opportunity to share a period of one’s life on a journey in partnership with a community of people. They are not people you have necessarily chosen – that in a sense they are a gift from God; but we must try to work out together how to travel well in a way that is life-enriching and life-enhancing. There are inevitably highs and lows, joys and sorrows; but what is of enduring importance is how we journey through those different experiences in a way that enables mutual growth.

I have been here for a total of eight years now: it is a length of time in which it is possible to make something of a difference, but not so long, I hope, that things become stale – so probably the right time to move on. It is now a new start for me as I take up my post in Sittingbourne at the beginning of August, but I am so immensely grateful for the nurture, support and love I have

received in these villages, which will continue to resource me on my new adventure. At the same time, our parish churches face a time of change, but change always offers new opportunities to grow and flourish.

I shall finish with another quote: “Goodbyes make you think. They make you realize 
what you’ve had, what you’ve lost, and what you’ve taken for granted.” – Ritu Ghatourey.

I am deeply thankful for the many ways in which I have been enriched during my time here, and for all that so many have given, and I trust I have not taken too much for granted. May God bless you in all that you do

                                                  David Ridley