In knowing how hard would be the road to Palm
Sunday and to the events of Holy Week we see
Jesus seeking to prepare his disciples for all that it would mean to take up their cross and follow him wherever it would lead.

Through these 40 days of Lent we are invited to reflect, pray and set apart our lives in following Jesus wherever it may lead us.

I’m grateful to God that I came to work in a parish where there was a colleague who, since I first met him 15 years ago as the new century dawned, has followed Jesus wherever he was to lead Phil & Maggie. Seven years ago, after a chaplaincy in Dunkirk, it led them to come to Alverstoke to work in partnership with you and Ted Goodyer.

Before I arrived Phil spoke of ‘seeing me in’ for a few months before retiring – but I am so grateful to Phil & Maggie for not rushing off, but for postponing this day of official retirement from Phil’s stipendiary ministry until now, this March.

It has been an absolute pleasure to pray with, work alongside, and share in ministry with Phil who has been so generous to me and to all of us in this parish in the faithful giving of himself to us. A giving to us in the love of God which has been with humility and with strength, with laughter and with compassion. Thank you Phil and thank you Maggie.

Now, as Phil & Maggie seek to follow Jesus wherever he may lead, it is time that they leave us and return to their home in Portchester. We shall still see them from time to time especially as Phil will maintain his ministry in the port and to various establishments and uniformed organisations.