This summer I will have been in the Pendle area for 12 years.
I remember being at the ordination of a friend of mine at St Mary’s Church, Burnley, when the bishop said afterwards: “Holy Saviour’s, Nelson.”
We make a promise of obedience and celibacy which gives us a freedom to go where we are sent without the considerations that many people would have to take in to account, so I said yes straight away and drove back via Nelson to find the church.
Saying yes took me back home in a different direction.
A few years later the bishop rang me up and asked if I would take over Sacred Heart in Colne as Fr Tubman was retiring and again I said yes.
Six months later I was asked to look after SS Peter and Paul’s as well in Barrowford and I said yes.
In all of this ultimately I was trying to say yes to God and be prepared to allow my plans to be turned upside down. And I’m in good company there: Mary said yes to the Angel Gabriel; Joseph allowed his plans to be turned upside down; the wise men followed a star that took them to an unexpected place; and the first four disciples left their nets to follow Jesus.
If we trust in God and say yes to him then we can be part of the greatest adventure life can ever offer us: an adventure with God. And my time here has truly been an adventure. I have so much to thank God for.
But now I have been asked to move again, and it is time to say yes again and trust it all to God.
So God bless you all, thank you to all those who have helped and supported me and peace be with all of you.