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Rev Alex Welby's farewell message to Hatherleigh's benefice
By Neil Price, Co-Editor

January 27, 2006: FAREWELL MESSAGE FROM ALEX So many people both inside and outside the churches have stopped me on the street, or at the door of the church, or have written a note or a card to me that I am completely overwhelmed by your many kindnesses. To add to this the generosity of a the thoughtful gifts that I have been given from the different parishes, a pen and picture, a lovely colourful sweater and set of pictures, shirt tie and socks with a view to interviews! And of course the most generous and helpful gift of a laptop and printer. I keep thinking how appropriate and special all these gifts are. When I look back over these years the best of times were when I was at the centre of my best gifts. In the end my weaknesses became all too apparent to everyone… but this whole process of goodbye has left me with a sense of warmth and support and encouragement that has helped my confidence grow. I go therefore with happy and positive memories born of the best things that we did together, and a sense of forgiveness and support over the things that I failed in. For this I thank you all. I wish you all God’s blessings and a rich inheritance of grace. By the time you are reading this I will have started life as an (almost) monk in Downside Abbey to continue my process of healing, reflection and recovery. After that I will set off in a new direction which as yet I do not know, but I do know Him who holds the future and so I await His leading. I wish His leading for us all. Here are two of my favourite verses in the Bible, both of which in different ways represent new beginnings and the great miracle that is a relationship with Christ. In Jeremiah 31.34 God promises to “forgive… and remember their sins no more.” Truly an extraordinary feat for a God who knows everything! While Ephesians 2.10 promises such individual care and attention when it says “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” So thank you all. In Christ Alex Welby

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