The Revd Robert Stephenson, who has made an invaluable contribution to Caldecote Church through his ministry since he moved into the parish, has announced his retirement from taking services.
It is in fact his second retirement – the first being his formal retirement from full-time ministry in 2004. Since moving to our parish, Robert has generously offered his time, and shared the wealth of his long experience, by taking services at Caldecote Church.
We will forever be in a debt of gratitude – his generosity meant that at a time when we were stretched for ministers to lead services each week we were able not just to continue to offer 3 services every month, but to continue to make two of those a service of Holy Communion led by an ordained priest.
His decision comes at a natural point of change for the church with the arrival of our new vicar, the Revd David Newton, and allows Robert to finally take things a bit easier, nearly 58 years after his ordination!
Ordained deacon in 1960, Robert was ordained priest a year later and began his ministry in his home Diocese of Durham, moving to Ely Diocese and the parish of Comberton in 1974. Thirty years later, in 2004, he retired and moved with his wife Sheila to Highfields Caldecote, where the couple quickly became valued members of Caldecote Church. Sheila threw herself into fundraising when we set up the Friends of Caldecote Church, and later became Churchwarden for a short while before needing to step down due to health issues. She has continued to support the church however, putting countless hours into our ‘Every Penny Counts’ campaign, which has to date raised more than £2,400.
We are immensely grateful to Robert for extending his ministry in retirement to the benefit of the community of Caldecote Church, and sharing with us some of his deep understanding in particular of the historical contexts to our Sunday Bible readings as well as his passion for liturgy and church history. But most of all we are grateful for the personal friendship he and Sheila have offered and that we look forward to continuing into the future.
A special service to mark Robert’s (second!) retirement will be held later in the year. Details will be posted on the website as they become available.