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.
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
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
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.