Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Westminster Central Hall, London

Visiting the team at Westminster Central Hall is always a pleasure, as city centre colleagues we often meet at gatherings throughout the year of the Methodist City Centre Network (MCCN). The network was established several years ago and provides an opportunity for all those working in city centre locations to share and learn from others working in similar environments.

It was a very special day to be visiting and preaching as it was the farewell service for my diaconal colleague and friend Sister Jane Middleton who retires from this 'phase' of her ministry after serving for twelve years as Deacon on the staff team at Central Hall. It was a privilege to be part of a special day in the life of this community, a day of celebration as we gave thanks for Jane's ministry here and offered prayers as she retires to the rather splendid location of Durham City (I am looking forward to seeing her more often in future).

Morning worship was held in the Great Hall led by Rev Martin Turner, Superintendent Minister and Rev Tony Miles, Team Minister and Media Chaplain. The service began with the choir singing a beautiful rendition of John Rutter's, 'For the beauty of the earth.' Sister Jane had chosen several of the hymns including the 'diaconal hymn' Behold the servant of the Lord'.

After morning worship a farewell dinner was held for Sister Jane, beautiful food was served followed by speeches of thanksgiving for a much loved, respected and valued member of the team.

Sister Jane Middleton responding to the speeches and gifts.

Rev Martin Turner, Superintendent Minister of Central Hall presenting gifts to Sister Jane, after a very moving speech where it was clear how much they have enjoyed working and serving God together as part of the team in this vibrant community.

Sister Jane Middleton and her husband Rev Alan Middleton, an Anglican Minister also retiring this year.

Rev Tony Miles, member of the Central Hall Team and Media Chaplain alongside his wife Francis.

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