A Letter from Rev'd John Squires
It’s All the Fault of the Girls’ Brigade
It is just over thirty years since
my wife Lynn, two children and I made that perilous journey over the Pennines
from Yorkshire to live in Lancashire. If
you think being a Christian is difficult, try telling your family where you
will be living!!! During this time we have seen our children
grow up, our grandchildren born and made many friends along the way. We have also seen our faith grow and along
the way have had many prayerful discussions with God when I said NO and he said
YES. I am grateful to Lynn and my family
for all their support, the sacrifices they have made and the encouragement they
have given me. Without this my journey
would not have been possible.
Prior to moving to this area we
were members of a small village Baptist Church in Barnsley and it was through
our daughter being in the Girls’ Brigade and having to attend monthly church
services that we started to join her (hence the title) – monthly soon became
weekly, and the rest as they say is history.
When we left Barnsley one of
the church members asked where we were going to live and we said it is a small
village called Hambleton. “My cousin lives on Wyreside Drive: is it near
there?” - “Yes I responded Riverside
Drive is the next street”
I should have known then that
God was guiding me…was this coincidence or was it God paving the way for us to
meet someone in this wonderful community.
I know what I think…I will leave you to think that one through!
We visited a number of churches
before settling on Hambleton Parish Church.
Philip Ward was Vicar and Ann was Deputy Warden of Readers. It didn’t take long before I was approached
to consider Reader training (I have never been head hunted before!) After three years training and in 1996 I was
Licensed a Reader. It didn’t stop there
and I was Ordained in 2008.
It has been a
privilege to serve the Over Wyre Parishes, particularly Hambleton and Out
Rawcliffe. Yes my sense of humour and
mischief have got me into hot water on occasions. As my wife says “I have to
take you everywhere twice; the second time to apologise”.
Now, I find myself having to make
that hard decision of deciding to retire.
I’m still trying to find out what that means in the Church of
England. I’m not sure any priests have
actually retired; I think the term “retired” should be in inverted commas! We do intend to spend more time
in our caravan this summer, a spot more fishing and walking seems to be on the
agenda. It will be nice to have time to
take the grandchildren places and to spend more time with them.
For every ending there is a new
beginning, this is true of our lives; we finish school and we start work. To me this is the exciting part. We have experienced what has passed but yet
we have that excitement and expectation of what is to come. Lynn and I feel that now. There is sadness in retiring from the church,
but there is an excitement, an expectation in what is to come.
My final service on Easter
Sunday seems to reflect this. We have
been through the experience of Lent, being challenged in whatever we have
decided to do or give up. My
grandchildren gave up chocolate but Joshua soon decided that was too much of an
ask and as he didn’t want to be the same as his sister - he has given up
toast! But Lent to me isn’t just about
“giving up” it is also about “giving”, more time in prayer, in reading and also
to other people to offer help and support, particularly those most in need.
We have walked with Jesus in
glory into Jerusalem with our palms raised in glory to the King of Kings. We have shared the Last Supper, our bodies,
like our feet have been cleansed and we have shared in that wonderful,
sustaining and perpetual meal of the Last Supper.
We have watched with disbelief
Jesus being betrayed by one of those closest to him and we have witnessed his
trial, his humiliation, and we have walked with him to the foot of the cross at
Maybe on Good Friday you stood
at the foot of the cross and listened to the nails being hammered in, seen the
blood and heard the cries. Maybe, just
maybe you heard that small voice of the soldier say - “This man was truly the
Son of God.”
The end had come, or so we
thought. As I stated earlier, from every
ending comes a new beginning. On that
glorious Easter Sunday the tomb was thrown wide open – and we shout at the top
of our voice “Alleluia. Christ is
risen. He is risen indeed, Alleluia,
Christ has died so that our
sins can be forgiven; Christ has risen to show that we too can have eternal
life. Our old life has finished, a new,
more glorious life with all its challenges has started.
As we prepare to finish this
ministry, Lynn and I start to prepare for the challenges to come, not only with
some trepidation but also with some excitement.
We thank you all for your loyal
support, your friendship and fellowship please pray for Lynn and me as we
continue on our journey with God.
May God bless you all.