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Steve’s farewell¬†message

This will be my last web page contribution as I say farewell on All Saints’ Day (appropriately!). How time has flown – three years has just flashed past. It is amazing how much has changed in the Hayes household in that time. 2 daughters have married and one finished at University. I have served as vicar of a parish for the first time, Rosie has served as a school chaplain for the first time. And we have all seen New Zealand for the first time. Not a bad turn around for three years! Another indication of the pace at which things are moving in the Hayes’ household is that not one of the five of us will be at the same address this coming Christmas as we were last Christmas!

I return home very satisfied and fulfilled. My only anxiety about leaving teaching was that I wasn’t sure whether I could hope to enjoy another ministry as much as my school chaplaincy and I quickly learnt that I could. All Saints’ and St Thomas’ have been extraordinary churches to work in and I have had the joy of helping out in the diocese as well with various differing roles:

Helping the Anglican church work out how it could help out in Flaxmere without having a church building there was an interesting exercise. It is difficult to imagine a more contrasting scenario than our own with a large complex and church building.

Supporting Mission to Seafarers has been a fulfilling venture too, supporting Richard in his strategic role. Then there was the opportunity to be on the board at Hereworth during a time when one head left and another was appointed. Leading prayers at Dio Office for a couple of years was a rewarding role too. It has been a varied experience serving in this parish and this diocese.

And it’s not just my life or my family’s life that has changed either: a new dean, a new bishop, and new appointments in three local parishes has meant rapid change in the diocese too. It has been a privilege to serve with many inspiring colleagues within the diocese.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my membership of the support group for ministers of different denominations as we learn to work alongside each other. There is a lively support group thriving in Napier – it is good to see us working together as Christians in the local community.

Generosity has been one of the key features of my experience here as I have seen people pour time and effort into hospital chaplaincy, Mission to Seafarers, Community Foodbank, Cursillo, Lovelink, Drop In and other projects which widen our horizons as we have members affiliated to MSL, AAW, CMS, Bible Society and numerous other groups.

Christmas looms with all the activities that brings – the carol singing, carol services for Rest Homes in the area, 9 Lessons and Carols, Christmas services, the Cupcake service and, of course, the Christmas lunch.

There will be little let up in pace as we enter into an interregnum. We’ve just had our first Messy Church with others planned, G-Force is likely to need to spilt into two groups, we are talking with potential new user groups for the facilities and our varied pattern of regular services is thriving.

Approximately 900 people visit our premises each week – about a quarter of those for worship at our services. Pray with me that everyone involved, whatever they are doing, may experience God’s blessing and God’s grace.

We have said rather too many farewells to those who have died this last few weeks.  Our farewell is tinged with regret and sadness but having had a wonderful time and we rejoice in the knowledge that we will see many of you again as you visit the UK or when we return here for a holiday.

Every blessing to each and every one of you. Many, many thanks for the wonderful welcome you have extended us – we leave changed and blessed by our experience here.

Steve and Rosie


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