A farewell message from Sue Fender

Most people will be aware that our minister, Rev Sue Fender, has accepted a call to a group of churches in Cambridgeshire. Sue’s last service with the Hartlepool & Teesside group will be on 25th April via Zoom. We wish Sue and Alex well in their new home and as they move forward in Sue’s ministry.

Dear All

Endings and goodbyes are never easy, and as I write this letter Alex and I are beginning the task of packing up the Manse and preparing for our move. Lockdown has meant that the way we do many things have changed, not least seeking and receiving a new call.

I will be taking my last service with you on Sunday 25th April via Zoom and we will be moving to Melbourn, Cambridgeshire on Tuesday 11th/Wednesday 12th May.

So many of us have had to engage with the wonders of technology more and more over the last twelve months. We have quite a good number attending our Zoom services each week, many more listening in to the Podcast and still more receiving the weekly service on a CD through the post. I know from the comments I have had that they have received a mixed response. We have not yet identified how worship might continue to be provided after I have left the pastorate but if you feel you have the skills or would like to learn how to reproduce the URC service each week for those unable to come to church, please do get in touch with me and Alex and I would be happy to show you how it is done.

We do hope that by mid June churches will be fully open again for Sunday worship and that many of the weekly activities can resume. Care will still need to be taken. Hand sanitising and good cleaning practices will still be very necessary, but I would hope that handshaking and a few hugs might be on the cards too. However, we do need to remember that we will not be ‘going back’ in every sense of the word. We have changed – all of us, in some way or another by the events of the last year. As we approach Holy Week and Easter, I cannot but help reflect on how one week changed the world forever. Of course, all that had gone before in the life of Jesus is significant too, just as our lives, prepandemic are significant to us. But the events of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the stillness of Easter Saturday and the glorious resurrection on Easter Day are days that changed the world forever.

We are Easter People.

Our hope, faith and trust are embedded into the Easter story. This year has been challenging for all of us. We have lived through really difficult days and for me what seems like a never-ending Easter Saturday of watching and waiting, of mourning and at times complete desolation. However, all these days have been lived in the knowledge and hope of the Easter story and all the love, joy, peace and promise that that brings.

So, as I leave you, my prayer is that you will find in the Easter story, all that you need to carry you into the next chapter of your stories and that God continues to bless you as his people in this place.

Go well

With love


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