Farewell Ruth!

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On Saturday 28th July the people of the Darlington District said a fond Farewell to the Revd Ruth Gee as she ends her ministry in the district. Ruth has been the Chair of the Darlington District of the Methodist Church for 10 years supporting, encouraging, shaping and challenging the District in its worship, work and service within the community. She is moving to London to be part of the national team in the role of Connexional Ecumenical Officer from September 2018.

After enjoying afternoon tea together, people from across the District and beyond celebrated the work of Ruth and presented her with gifts including a book of best wishes gathered from members of the churches. We send Ruth with our best wishes and prayers and prepare to welcome her successor the Revd Richard Andrew as he takes up the post of District Chair in September.

Ruth's farewell letter
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I want to thank you for your friendship and support throughout the 10 years that I have served in the Darlington District. I came to you from West Yorkshire as some-one who had grown up in the south of England, with strong family links in Wales. I have often said that the Methodist Church was intent on sending me further and further north, an intention with which I was very content. Now I am called to live in the south again as I undertake a Connexional role as Ecumenical Officer.

I have loved living and serving in this District. I have been inspired by the northern saints — Hilda, Aidan, Cuthbert and others. I have been refreshed by regular visits to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. I have been supported, challenged and befriended by so many of you. I have been impressed by the resilience of the people of the north east and angered by the recurring need for it. I have understood and lived with the northern perspective, been annoyed by the weather maps and the south facing focus of the national media.

There is much for which I thank God as I reflect on my time among you.

Most of all, I thank God for the times I have spent with groups or individuals around the District. We have rejoiced, struggled, wept and laughed together as we have sought to follow Christ and live as the people of God in these communities. We have seen times of decline and times of growth, times of despair and times of hope and in all times we have glimpsed the glory of God who is ever with us.

As I move on I also want to say that I am sorry for those things which have been left undone. There will be loose ends which will not be tied up, that is now for others and for God.

Finally, remember that Jesus' call is to follow him. The journey is not always straightforward and sometimes we are led in directions that we would not have chosen. Continue as faithful followers of Jesus Christ and you can be sure that the end of the journey will be new life and hope and joy. This is the resurrection promise that we know and that we proclaim through our words and our actions, through our life together as Christians.

I thank God that I have lived and served in the north-east and I thank God that I am now called to serve in a way that is dear to my heart. We are called to be one in Christ that the world might believe. Ecumenism is profoundly missional and profoundly evangelical and it is intrinsic to our calling.

I pray that you will continue to know God's blessing and the joy of following Jesus. I will miss you and I will miss the north east. I will continue to pray for you. Please pray for me.

With love in Christ,
Ruth

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