Steve came to Ottery St Mary as its vicar in 2013 and he is now retiring. Today he had his “Farewell Service” at our church.
Due to the pandemic it was very different from what I have experienced in the past. it was three different services. At our Mass we were outside in the church yard, some of us standing and some sitting and everyone doing his/her best to keep social distancing.
And after the service Grenville recited Psalm 23 and I have got his permission to quote from it below:
Psalm 23 from the Further Revised version of the Revised Non-Standard Version of the New Ottery St Mary English Bible (with Apocrypha).
Stephen is our nearly retired Rector, we shall always want.
He has made us sit down to listen to countless sermons.
He has enjoyed his favourite whisky beside still waters.
He has restored our sense of humour with the most appalling jokes.
He has trod the odd right path on the Quantock Hills for Coleridge’s sake,
as well as some of the darkest places known in the town
like local pubs, where he has feared no evil;
his mandolin and guitar have been with him to comfort him.
His loyal servers have prepared a table for him every week,
except during lockdown when he has anointed his head with
copious quantities of good red wine to retain his sanity.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow him and Cathy all the way
to Bigbury and the Pilchard Inn on Burgh Island
where they shall be able to reflect on
the exceedingly good times they had at Ottery St Mary – for e v e r!
According to my sources Psalm 23 is written by Grenville Gilbert.
Steve – and Cathy, his wife – have been a very important part of the social fabric in our community. They will be sadly missed, when they move away in August. But they will not move too far, they will still remain in Devon, at Bigbury-on-Sea, opposite the island of Burgh, where Agatha Christie set two of her detective stories.
Knightstone Manor has had an impact on Steve and Cathy too. His first meeting, when he was interviewed for the position of rector at our mission community, took place at Knightstone Manor. And we have arranged several church parties on our grounds and the choir come every year to sing Christmas Carols at Knightstone with many other guests. And Cathy and Steve have been guests at our home many times, sometimes also with some of their children, as we have been at their vicarage.
Below I have two slide shows. The first is from today’s service and the second shows a few photos from our time with Steve and Cathy.
Click the arrows to advance the slide shows