Local pilgrimage

Richard Wren retirement

Sunday 15th July 0930

A service to celebrate and mark the conclusion of the long-standing ministry of the Revd Richard Wren will take place on Sunday 15th July. The celebrant and preacher will be the Venerable Alan Jean, Archdeacon of Sarum.  Richard has chosen his favourite hymns for the service; having had a flying career with the Royal Navy his choice includes “Will your anchor hold.”

At the annual church meeting on 25th April, the Rector, the Revd Dr Graham Southgate read this statement.

As some of you already know, Richard Wren has recently decided that the time is right for him to withdraw from the monthly service rota and – ultimately – to allow his Permission to Officiate to lapse.

Richard was ordained deacon in 1990, and was priested here at Saint John the Baptist in 1991. Those of you who were there almost 27 years ago may remember the flouting of the Earl Marshal’s Warrant, when the Royal Navy’s Church Pennant was flown from the church tower!

Richard was just beginning to spread his clerical wings when I arrived as a newly ordained deacon in 1993, as he took on particular pastoral responsibilities for Ansty – as well as offering friendship and support to me until I moved on in 1997 . . . only to be given the responsibility for showing me around the Nadder Valley when I was being interviewed seven years ago!

Bishop Jonathan Meyrick, who was Training Incumbent for both of us, as well as being my great great grand-predecessor as Team Rector has asked me to say:

I find impossible to imagine what my ministry in the Tisbury Team would have been like without the involvement of Richard and Heather Wren. Richard was the first person I met when doing a preparatory reccie of the Rectory before applying, and he was then ordained deacon within weeks of my Institution. He remained a constant support – together with Heather, they were always a couple in each other’s ministries. I can’t think of any of the initiatives we undertook which were not either inspired by Richard, or fully supported by him. He was unfailingly and infectiously, gracious, generous-hearted, open-spirited with a broad understanding of what it meant to be missional. When Malcolm Acheson, my first Team Vicar, moved to Chichester Diocese, I could not have been more pleased that Bishop David agreed to Richard’s appointment as the first Non Stipendiary Team Vicar in the Diocese.

When that parachute accident took me out of ministry for nearly 8 months in 1994/95, I knew I could entirely trust Richard to sustain our work, and he both picked up and then relinquished the reins with a grace to which most of us can’t hope to aspire. I have been blessed with a number of fantastic working colleagues over my years in ministry; only one of them comes close to matching Richard’s gifts as a colleague, and he has just retired too! I will be forever grateful that I was in Tisbury for part of the time when he has been exercising them. Please assure him and Heather of my continued gratitude, affection, and prayers.

We will miss all that Richard has brought to the ministry locally in the Tisbury and the wider benefice, and it is typical of him to want to lay them down of his own accord.

Listen to Richard’s sermons.