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Rev’d Ben’s News

With apologies for those I have not managed to tell in person that I shall be leaving:

Dear friend and partner in God’s kingdom building. 
It is with mixed feelings I announce that I have been invited to take up the post of Vicar of Goring, Streatley, and South Stoke in South Oxfordshire.

It has been a great privilege to serve as Rector of the Tove Benefice. 
I will miss hugely the wonderful colleagues and fellow Christians and members of the community I have worked and lived alongside.

Together with God’s help good things have happened here in the last six+ years. 
There is much I have not managed to do, but much has flourished. 
I have learned from and with you and grown a great deal. 
I give thanks and am grateful to you all.

It is time for a new chapter in our lives and Sarah and I will be living a few minutes’ walk from a railway line which will cut her commute in half. 
There is a challenge waiting for me in leading the church there and no doubt a challenge for them all working with me.

What’s it like there? 
Goring and Streatley are two substantial villages either side of the River Thames. 
Not long ago, they were in different counties – but have been part of a single benefice for the last decade or so. 
South Stoke is much smaller. 
We know the area a little as I once took a group from my last parish for a (very soggy) weekend away, and we stayed at the Youth Hostel. 
We also, as it happens, know a handful of people in the congregation.

Very sadly, the last vicar Paul Boughton died of a brain tumour while in post. 
I knew him and his wife as we overlapped in our training at Ridley Hall Theological College. 
He had not been long in post when he was diagnosed.
There are two curates at the moment, the first of whom arrived just as Paul became ill, the other, who is nonstipendiary was ordained a year later.
Overall, it’s been a turbulent couple of years for the churches.

There is lots to do in the three primary schools and in the community, and I look forward to discovering the benefice by bike.
Our last Sunday here will be 6th January, when I hope to say goodbye to as many of you as possible. 
Meanwhile, I pray my last two months here will be fruitful.
I hope to help in any way I can in preparing for the future of the benefice.

I do not intend to go quietly and will continue to delight in worshiping with you and being open to what God wants to say and be in us all.
May we wait on God and seek his will in all our plans.

With love from Ben