If you’re wondering what we’ve been up to for the last couple of months, read on…
Leaving the Southampton Circuit and St James Road Methodist Church in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic was difficult. We were so sad that there were many people who we hadn’t seen for months, and that restrictions meant that we could not have any big ‘farewells’. However, we continue to trust in God to use Brian’s gifts of ministry, and know that he has been called into his new role as a chaplain at Poole Hospital.
So, late July and early August saw us gradually relocate to Bournemouth, back to the house that we bought when we got married and only lived in for two years before embarking on circuit ministry. As the house had been rented out for 14 years, we were so grateful to the Southampton Circuit for offering us ‘breathing space’ when we moved down to Bournemouth, living in our caravan for a few weeks and doing a huge amount of DIY and decorating in our house. When our furniture arrived mid August, we were finally able to move in officially and start adjusting to our new way of life – and it is very different!
Brian’s new role is a full time one, with set working hours. However, hospitals don’t only open during the day, so on 3 or 4 days each week he is also ‘on call’, and responds to emergency call outs whatever time they come in. A call in the early hours is not fun for him, but as my sister said to me, as soon as he gets to the hospital and meets with a patient or family, he is making a difference in an often traumatic situation. His work extends to include a hospice and a maternity hospital. He is gradually settling in, finding his way around and getting to know and support staff members.
Our house also feels different. We loved our manse in Southampton, not just for the space and comfort it gave us, and the family memories we made there, but also for its role in Brian’s ministry. It was the base from which he worked, and a place where much of his ministry took place, or was planned or discussed. Now our house is just our house. Other than receiving emergency phone calls, Brian’s work does not impact on our house at all. This is taking some getting used to, and is more of an adjustment than we perhaps anticipated.
As for me, I have been privileged to spend 14 years supporting Brian’s ministry and working alongside him in the church and circuit communities. Brian’s new chaplaincy role is very separate. I wave him off to work and ask how his day was when he gets in, but I’m not part of his ministry in the way I was in Southampton. Obviously the Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated this, as I can’t go into work with him and meet his colleagues, but it is a big change for the pair of us and is taking a bit of getting used to!
We want to thank you all again for the support and love that you showed us while we were in Southampton, and for the encouragement you gave Brian to listen to his call to chaplaincy. It was not easy to decide to move on, but we know that God’s timings are right.
We were so humbled to receive your very generous gifts when we left. Your heartfelt messages we will treasure. We wanted to use the money you gave us to buy ourselves something truly special. We had a long list of jobs that needed doing in our house, but didn’t want your gift to get ‘swallowed up’ into a bill for carpets or decorating. We visited Stewarts Garden Centre and found a fabulous outdoor furniture set with a big dining table and 8 chairs. This is just the right size for when we can get together with both of Brian’s girls and their families (although the ‘rule of 6’ may mean we will be waiting a while!). As the dining set was on special offer in the sale, it meant that we could also get a matching outdoor lounge set, with a coffee table, sofa and two chairs. We are so delighted to have found such lovely things to spend the money on, especially as you know how important family is to us. So thank you once again. We are so grateful to you all for your generosity.
So now the winter approaches and we are just starting another lockdown. We know it won’t be easy, especially as the evenings get longer and colder, but this 2020 has reminded us of the command to love our neighbours and ourselves, and staying in and keeping safe and keeping in touch is the best way of doing that in this pandemic. We wish you all the best for the new future as it emerges. Enjoy welcoming Kirsty and the Make and Brew team, and make the most of the ministry opportunities you can create together. Enjoy great coffee and fellowship! Build each other up in love and support one another. We know that Christine and the leadership team are facing many challenges as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact on the church, and we pray that our rejoicing when we can finally reunite will reflect the joy and thankfulness we will feel. We continue to remember those who mourn and pray that they will find comfort in the fellowship of the church.
Brian and Becky
……and arriving in Bournemouth
Our outdoor dining set
Our outdoor lounge set