Dear parishioners and friends,
Possibly when you read this article we will all know a bit more clearly what is going to happen with “Brexit.” Will it be Teresa May’s negotiated Brexit deal or a no deal Brexit? Will there perhaps be a “People’s Vote” referendum to see if the majority still do want Brexit now we all know what the actual terms and conditions are? There might even be a General Election in the offing…
Fortunately, “Frexit” (my retirement from the post of Rector of Frittenden & Sissinghurst, as I sometimes light-heartedly call it), is clearer and simpler. Following discussions about the process and its timing with the Archdeacon of Maidstone, I announced it publicly in both churches on Sunday 2nd December.
This is my first opportunity to share it widely with you as magazine readers and parishioners, as I also want you to be in the picture. The normal age of retirement for Church of England clergy is 68 and my 68th birthday was in October 2018. My official retirement date is 30th September 2019, though my ‘last Sunday’ is provisionally planned for 15th September 2019. When I retire, Angela and I will then be moving to live in our house in Loughborough (Leicestershire). We are both from the East Midlands.
Angela and I have very much enjoyed our years of ministry here amongst you and we hope to use these next months wisely and well too. Now is probably not the time to go into lots of details, as there are still several months before we go. However, we do already want to say how much we have been encouraged by both village communities and both churches, which we have found extremely warm and welcoming. As well as faithfully holding fast to good practice developed over the years, there has also been willingness to experiment with and embrace new ideas and approaches.
There is also some important, particularly good news to share. Archdeacon Stephen has indicated to both church PCCs that he plans to advertise for my successor in summer 2019 (i.e. before we have left) so your next Rector of Sissinghurst with Frittenden can be appointed as soon as possible thereafter.
Rev Fred Olney