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Viewpoint from Margaret Bazely 08/05/2015 

MARGARET BAZELYas published in the Yarmouth Mercury

Margaret Bazely

Methodist Local Preacher
retired Chaplaincy Coordinator, Great Yarmouth College

I left GY College with great sadness last June having reached 60.  My husband and I hoped to return further north where we had served various parishes in the past. We intended to find a house and retire to somewhere in deepest Derbyshire, near enough to be closer to family and we told God this. After 35 years in ministry including 19 as a mental health chaplain, Bill needed a rest and I was recovering from surgery
dove leftWe prayed and searched the internet for houses and In fact we moved to the lovely village of Holymoorside only last week. But not to retire. After six months of resting and catching up on all the domestic jobs that had been neglected, we found an ad for a post in the exact spot we wanted to live.  St Peter's Church, Holymoorside, wanted a 'house for duty' minister. This entails leading Sunday worship plus part time parish duties, with no stipend but having a house provided by the church. We fell in love with the little hillside church immediately - no stained glass behind the communion table so that we can properly join with creation as we worship and gaze out at trees and sky. Having been offered the post and accepted we have received a warm welcome and hope to minister together here as God shows us how and according to our energy levels!
Dove rightSadly the GY College chaplaincy post has not been retained due to insufficient funds coming in from churches and the college being unable to continue to subsidise the post. I was sorely disappointed about this since so many churches and individuals have faithfully contributed to maintaining a Christian presence in the college for so many years. They are to be thanked enormously. They need to know that it was possible to reach many students and staff in all kinds of ways through the chaplaincy
Over the years, each of the different chaplains added a different flavour with their own special gifts. We supported and loved learners, shared ongoing fellowship, prayer and study with the brilliant Christians on the staff, taught all kinds of things including the Bible where possible. We celebrated Christian festivals and organised campaigns for people in need around the world. We witnessed to faith and, in my case, as a counsellor, worked with some students who lived with really challenging relationship, family and developmental issues. Some of the young people there have horrendous problems to deal with and yet they do so with great courage and resourcefulness. Some learners are extremely gifted and we had a lot fun celebrating at various concerts, fairs and special festivals. We also learned what huge dedication and grace typifies the work of staff at the college
I know that God sometimes wants us to draw an activity to a close, so that other new ones can take their place but I urge people of faith in the borough to continue to pray for the students at GY College, and the staff, who toil under sometimes huge pressures and to look for what God may do for them in the days to come