On May 3rd, I told the Kirk Session that it is my intention to retire as your minister later this year. I will retire on September 30th 2023; my last Sunday conducting worship will be Sunday September 24th. In June this year, I will celebrate 40 years of ordained ministry and in October I will be 66 years old and in receipt of my pension. Simply, the time has come for me to retire from the full-time ministry that I have exercised in Juniper Green for nearly 23 years.
It was 5 years ago that I made the decision to retire now, before Covid and Presbytery planning and the personal circumstances of our family’s life. We have dealt with these challenges and are still dealing with them. For me, now is the time to take a step back from ministry and find time to do other things. There is never a good time to step back from ministry, but I am persuaded that for me now is the right time.
The future of Juniper Green Church is in union with Colinton; my retirement changes nothing of that trajectory, and with Rolf Billes announcing today that he will be leaving Colinton in the summer, the new union of the 2 congregations will have the opportunity to choose a new minister together, starting a new phase of church life with new leadership. Whoever that new minister is, will be different, with a different personality and a different way of doing things. In the meantime, Presbytery will appoint an Interim Moderator to each of the 2 congregations, someone who will look after you until you call your new minister.
Jean and I will be leaving Juniper Green sometime in the autumn, and with the greatest love and respect I would ask you not to come to me for future ministry. If you ask me to conduct a funeral or any other family event, I will simply say “no”. It has been an enormous privilege to be your minister for these last 23 years. We have done much together, achieved a lot and learned so much about Jesus, the church, and one another. There will be time to say “thank you’s” later.
I have no doubt there will be lots of questions in your minds sparked by this letter. Feel free to ask them. In the meantime, I still have work to do, and I plan to work hard till the end of September. We have some house-hunting to do as well, and some serious down-sizing.