It was the Beatles who sang, ‘hello is the beginning of goodbye’ in their song ‘Hello, Goodbye’ and yet, I can scarce believe that having said ‘hello’ to the church community of St. Finnian’s just over 3 years ago, the time has now come to say ‘goodbye’.

Those who know me will know that I am seldom one for emotion, but writing this, I can empathise with Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian church: “When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him” (Acts 20:36-37).

There is a real element of sadness as I leave St. Finnian’s, for I leave not only friends, but family. The sadness is overshadowed, however, by the thankfulness and gratitude I have, to have been among you and ministered among you. I count it as a privilege to have been able to do so. Indeed, I count that there is no greater privilege than to know the Lord and serve his people.

And so, as I leave to pursue God’s calling in St. John’s, Lurgan, I leave with you the endorsement to ‘hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful’ (Hebrews 10:23).

Till we meet again.

Every blessing in Christ,

Raymond.