Airevale United Reformed Churches

Brotherton - Castleford - Knottingley

Rev’d Gill’s Retirement

On Sunday 30 June, a joint service was held at Knottingley of the three Airevale Group Churches to mark the retirement of Rev’d Gill Brown who had been our Minister for 14 years.

 Gill led the service which included two solo hymns by Patrick Gomery. Gill celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Communion with Elders from each of the Churches acting as Servers. The sermon was delivered by Rev’d Kevin Watson, the Yorkshire Synod Moderator.

There was an attendance of around 80, many of whom remained for a social in the church hall where Alison Carpenter, the Castleford Church Secretary made a presentation to Gill on behalf of the Airevale Group.

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On her retirement, I asked Gill some questions about her time with us in West Yorkshire and what the future may hold for her.

You have been Minister for Airevale for 14 years, what are the "highs" of that time?

Enabling some to come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and to see others grow in their faith; some through Church Membership courses, Y Course and Alpha Course. Enabling Youth Fellowship and Boys Brigade to develop and enjoying close contact with Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers. Providing meaningful links with Homestart especially at Christmas time. Providing many special services but especially thrilled that last Memorial Service seemed to help a lot of people who are still grieving. Thrilled that many liked the introduction of the singing of the Lord’s Prayer and might continue with its use during Holy Communion Services.
What are the "lows"?

Sharing the sad loss of so many special people in our church families. Not being able to continue with the Holiday Clubs and After School Clubs once the funding dried up. Not being able to develop many of the outreach possibilities because of either/both lack of funding or fit and available people to help.
What will you miss most?

Each and every person it has been my privilege to get alongside; both in our church families and in the community.

You are retiring to Sheffield. Why not to your hometown of Plymouth?

Although I have some special friends in the South West as well as some members of my family, as I can get to see them more readily now I am retired AND most of them can equally get to me here in Sheffield, I knew I preferred to stay in Yorkshire as I’ve never had the time to be a proper “tourist”! Now, in time, I can visit Yorkshire’s many beautiful attractions. Also, I didn’t want to move too far away from a pastoral point of view i.e. there will be occasions when I need to return to the Airevale Group OR when folk might want to visit me. I chose Sheffield as I have always loved it and have a very special friend here who I have known for 54 years! I have been blessed with finding a modern 3-bedroomed house, very near the Supertram which I love AND a large Morrisons Supermarket just 5 mins away. I am SO looking forward to going to the theatres etc AND having the time to learn to swim!
With you now being free from the day to day involvement in Church affairs, what will you be doing in your retirement?

As I mentioned, learning to swim and going to the theatres but also spending time with my special friend Nina and her husband Mick and babysitting their grandchildren (they have already asked me!), catching up with family and friends all over the country and going on holidays when I can afford them. When I have had hopefully a year “off” the serious, I hope that God will lead me into some sort of Christian outreach and am also keen to get involved in local politics but not sure how as yet.

Do you have any message for the Airevale congregations?

May I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of “you” for all your love, support and encouragement. You will ALWAYS remain very special in my heart and will continue to be in my prayers. I hope and pray “our paths will cross” in the future.