A large congregation of over 300 members and visitors gathered on Sunday 10th February to celebrate Holy Communion and to say thank you to Rev Dr Valerie Allen who is leaving the Old & Abbey Church after 16 years as its minister.
Worship that day focused on how we, as Christians, have many gifts and skills to offer in serving God and engaging in ministry projects, but in the end it is God who makes the “seed grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-9) The ministry we do in Christ’s name is not our work, it is God’s work. And so we gathered to thank God for God’s presence with us through these years together. The text of Valerie’s sermon is available on the ‘Worship’ page of the site.
Following worship, thank you’s were said and Valerie was presented with various gifts. We then gathered in the New Hall for some very welcome refreshment! Photographs of the gathering are available on the ‘Congregational News’ page.
On Wednesday, 13th February Valerie led her final worship, the more reflective midweek Service. At the end of worship Valerie went around the circle and individually blessed each person present. As one member said, Valerie “left us with an emotional and very spiritual, heart-felt last impression. I considered Sunday’s service to be one of the most moving services I have attended – that was until Wednesday.” As tears and love flowed, truly God’s Spirit was present in that place. Attended by over 50 people, again worship was followed by a beautiful reception allowing Valerie and Len the opportunity to say goodbye in person to everyone present.
We wish Valerie and Len God’s blessing and every happiness as they move into the next chapter of their lives.