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Rev'd Robert Amos Writes...

On Monday 1st September 1986 I was welcomed into my first appointment as a Methodist Minister at Hillside Methodist Church in the Chorley Circuit. A flower festival weekend was held to mark this event. At the start of the weekend I tried to slip in surreptitiously to the opening worship. As I sat there, I could hear a loud whisper "Is that him, our new minister?" "The other one said "Oh no, It can't be, he's nobbutt' a lad!" People don't say that anymore!

Here I am 34 years later having asked for permission to 'sit down'. Methodist ministers, rather than talk about retirement ask if they can stop moving from place to place. It's not the end of my 'active ministry'. I am still one of 'Mr Wesley's' preachers and I will remain active by leading worship and be available to the superintendent as a willing assistant.

My calling into full ministry began as a young teenager. I was attending an Anglican church but a school friend asked me "Why don't you come to our Methodist youth club? We've got snooker, darts and girls! I was there like a shot. The leaders welcomed me and invited to the Sunday Youth Fellowship, and really enjoyed it.
A Circuit Youth event was organised, and I put my name down. The packed coach arrived with youngsters from neighbouring churches. I got on and couldn't see any spare seats apart from one next to this very pretty girl. I sat down beside her and 50 years later Kathryn and I are still best friends and have been married for 44 of them.

After our marriage in 1976 the church we attended wanted to start a youth group and we ended up as the youth leaders. I got more involved in the worship and became a Local preacher. Our minister at the time was Revd Kathleen Richardson, who later became the first woman President of the Methodist Church, asked me "When are you coming to join us?" She was prompting me to candidate for the ordained ministry.

Since leaving school I had worked in engineering, sales, Charity work and even driving a double decker Playbus. I believe this was good experience that helped me in testing my call.

There were some ladies at the church who said "We don't want you to go, and made a point saying 'There's not much money in being a Parson' and 'You've got to be holier than thou'! After a yearlong process of interviews and I was sent forward for training. We had just had our first child James and before we left one of 'those' ladies said "You'll have to come back and see us. We want to see how whelps' goin' on!" (in other words examine the progress of the young child!)

As a family we moved to The Queen's College, Birmingham where I trained alongside Anglicans, United Reformed, Baptists. During this time we were blessed with a daughter Charlotte (Lottie)
I know that God has a sense of humour because he sent me, a true Yorkshire man, to my first church in Lancashire. I had a wonderful time and I am sure my twin brother Steve was delighted because on his visits to us from Barnsley he met Maureen a member of the congregation and I conducted their wedding in 1989. I baptised their daughter Sarah-Jayne and was due to conduct her wedding in August but this has been postponed.

We were there 7 years and then stationed to the market town of Ormskirk, a large Methodist /United Reformed Church with Boys and Girls Brigade. Eight years later to Scarborough where I served 5 years. In 2006 arrived in Driffield as Superintendent Minister looking after one church alongside 2 colleagues.

Before I arrived, on my travels I met someone originally from Nafferton who told me that East Yorkshire was 5 years behind the times. I protested but then discovered when I got here it was true, but it's actually 10 years behind the times, but in a good way. It is a slower pace of life. I found warm welcoming communities who cared for each other, people who took time to talk to and help each other. As a family we felt at home straight away.

Life in the circuit has not been without its changes and challenges. In our district neighbouring circuits were encouraged to work together and in 2012 we became the Driffield-Hornsea Circuit. I am delighted to see how many of churches have tried to move forward, with societies joining together, exploring new ways to worship, ecumenical work, refurbishing and even building a brand new Church.

These months of lockdown have not been easy for any of us. I have felt a sense of deprivation by not being able to make pastoral visits or meet for worship and share Holy Communion. There has been sadness conducting funerals in difficult circumstances. May they rest in peace and rise in glory! Weddings and Baptisms have been cancelled. I am thankful for the way the different churches and communities have rallied round and shown compassion and practical help with God's love.

When I look back over my ministry I am thankful for so many things. In school I was often asked in to talk about my work and in one lesson a little girl asked, "What do you like best about your job?" I said "Variety". I think that sums it up. Each day is different. I have been honoured and privileged to share in many special moments in people's lives.

It has been a joy to come alongside you and to get to know you all. From day one I have felt accepted, appreciated, loved and supported and for this I am truly grateful. It has been a joy each Sunday to lead worship all around the Circuit — to lead Bible studies and fellowships, School assemblies, and to work ecumenically.

It's never easy saying goodbye and with my grandson Grayson I often watch one of my favourite philosophers, Winnie the Pooh, who once said, "How blessed am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so difficult." I want to thank you making me the person I am today through having served and worked with you; your friendship, fellowship, generosity, sense of humour and faith.

In Paul's letter to the Philippians He writes 'I thank my God every time I remember you! I always pray with joy, whenever I pray for you all, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.'

Kathryn and I are settling into our new home in the Bridlington Circuit and look forward to spending more time with our children James and Emma, Lottie and Ian and our three grandsons Grayson, Emmet and Oliver; and when it is safe to do to visit family and friends in America.

God bless,

Robert

Rev Robert Amos

Daily Bible Study

2 Peter 3:14-18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (v. 18)

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