This is a very different daily reflection today, as we are celebrating Reverend David Parry’s 25 year anniversary of priesthood. This will no doubt embarrass him, as he is always keen to say “I’m not the story; God’s the story”. But we do give God thanks for this last 25 years, and in a way that Chris Topping (from David’s previous parish in Liverpool) reflects below, was a precedent set by St. Paul in writing his letters.
We begin with a letter from colleagues in Bro Celynnin:
On behalf of the Bro Celynnin Ministry Area we are writing to celebrate with pleasure the 25th anniversary of your priesting. Your joining us four years ago, coincided with great change within the Church in Wales, with historic parishes and separate congregations being joined together, and your help and leadership as a priest and pastor has been a crucial part in helping us through.
We were so pleased and blessed when you joined us, and were sure, after a long interregnum, that you were the man God was calling. Our confidence has been amply rewarded. You are a man who shares the many gifts God has given you freely with integrity and love. Not without cost to yourself if the needs of those of us under your spiritual care require it. Your teaching is inspiring and your understanding and support in these difficult times is hugely appreciated.
We thank God for you, and we ask that He bless you and your family for these next 25 years! We pray for you and for God’s guidance for us all as we move into a new era, with new opportunities to share the Gospel in the years ahead.
Top: Priesting, Bristol Cathedral (L); Curate, Withywood Church, Bristol (R). Middle: Vicar, St Philip’s Litherland, Merseyside (L); being made a Canon, Liverpool Cathedral as Director of Ordinands, and Vicar St Michael-in-the-Hamlet and Christ Church Toxteth Park (R). Bottom: in Bro Celynnin: Conwy town and valley.
Chris Topping writes:
When Paul was writing to the churches of the New Testament it was a common theme of his letters to include a word of thanks.
We read one such greeting in his first letter to the Thessalonians:
“We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The churches of Christ Church and St. Michael in the Hamlet, which David led until emigrating to Wales, would turn those words around slightly and give thanks to God for the ministry of David in his time in Liverpool. We saw first-hand the commitment of David to the work of God in this place, to his long hours of labour for our parishes and for those who were considering ordination. In his preaching we were reminded of the love David had for God and for the constancy of his hope in the work of the Holy Spirit to transform lives and communities.
We will always be grateful for David’s focus on the Word of God, his desire to be rooted in the scriptures and to encourage each individual into a deeper relationship with our heavenly Father.
Paul was a pioneer going from one nation to another, from one city to another bringing the Good News of the Gospel but then making sure that the church had the tools to cope with the challenges that they would face in the future. One of his enduring legacies was that he did not forget the churches he left behind but kept them in his prayers. During these strange COVID-19 times we have been blessed again by David’s ministry – the daily email and YouTube services from Bro Celynnin have been a huge encouragement. We have been reminded of David’s faithfulness to preach that same Good News Paul was bringing to the early church. We have been challenged again by David’s words and inspired by his commitment to hold to the truth of the love of God who does not change.
We are truly thankful for David’s ministry over the years – we are grateful to God for him and are excited to see what the future brings in the new normal.
Ein Duw byw,
diolchwn i ti am y modd y bu i ti harwain fel unigolion –
y profiadau a ddaeth i’n rhan,
pob her y bu i ni ei hwynebu,
y bobl y gwaethom eu cyfarfod,
y mannau y bu i ni ymweld â hwy,
a’r golygfeydd a welsom;
yr ysbrydoliaeth a gynigiaist,
yr arweneiniad a ddarparwyd,
â’r nerth a roddwyd.
Am gysondeb dy gariad,
yn ffyddlon ar hyd y blynyddoedd,
derbyn ein mawl diolchgar. Amen.Prayer
we thank you for the way you have led us as individuals –
the experiences we have gone through,
challenges we have faced,
the people we have met,
places we have visited,
and sights we have seen;
the inspiration you have offered,
and strength given.
For the constancy of your love,
faithful across the years,
receive our grateful praise. Amen.
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