It seems a long time since we first arrived, at the end of June 2007, following my 4 years as a curate learning the ropes in Parkham, a village to the west of Bideford! I was five months pregnant with Brendan, so looking forward to figuring out the joys and challenges of parenthood, as well as those of being a vicar. Over 10 years later, we have definitely learnt a lot, but haven’t yet got it all figured out!
On Wednesday 14th February, we will be moving to Tywyn on the west coast of Wales just north of Aberyswyth, where I will be taking up a new role as the Ministry Area Leader of Bro Ystumanner, an area that includes five parishes and six churches (Tywyn, Aberdyfi, Pennal, Abergynolwyn, Llanfihangel y Pennant and Llanegryn). We had always thought we would stay here for about 10-12 years, but weren’t gearing up to leave quite yet. However, having felt that God was nudging me towards future ministry in the Church in Wales, the advert for this job just happened to catch my eye. It seemed to be the kind of thing we would be looking for, so I felt I couldn’t not apply. I was then rather surprised to be appointed!
This is then our opportunity to say thank you to you all for welcoming us into these communities, and making it home for us in our time here. We have been greatly blessed by everyone’s friendship and support for us as a family. I have been privileged to walk with some of you through times of joy and sorrow in your own lives, and to work with many of you in a variety of contexts in the churches and communities. I am so grateful to each of you for your graciousness in allowing me to share part of the journey with you.
Departing on a day that is both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday is a reminder that we leave with love in our hearts – the love we have for you, and the love you have shared with us, and are preparing for whatever the future might bring in the knowledge of God’s love for us, and presence with us. We will be very sad to leave you all, but pray that in your future journeys, you may be blessed with love in your hearts, both given and received, and know the joy of God walking with you.
With our love and thanks to you all,
Rev. Ruth Hansford, Paul, Brendan, Krysty (Flynn, Swallow, Eby – the dogs; Smokey & Bandit, Gin & Tonic – the cats)