After more than a decade at the helm in Middle Rasen, the Rev Charles Patrick is heading for pastures new in the Wolds town of Horncastle.
Charles became Rector of the Middle Rasen Group in March 2003 and for the past six years has also cared for the Barkwith Group.
Now he has been appointed Rector of Horncastle, but it is a bitter-sweet move for Charles and his wife Linda whose daughter Claire was born during their time in the village.
“We are in no desperate hurry to leave, but we always said we would leave on a high,” said Charles.
“We have had an absolute ball here,” added Linda, “and it has been great for Claire to grow up here and go to such a lovely school.”
And it is families, young people and children that have been the emphasis for the hard-working couple over the past 12 years.
It was because of Claire the pram service began, followed by the Sunday School and the Saturday Club, and relationships have also grown with the village school and wider community.
“The key thing was getting to know people and making the church more open and friendly,” added Charles.
And the Patricks have certainly been a part of the wider Rasen community.
Both Charles and Linda took part in the ‘Big Picture’ project, part of Plank 2013, and Charles has been a faithful Rotarian, organising the very popular Community Carol Service for the past eight years or so.
Charles has also shown he is game for a laugh, with the in-house entertainment during the open churches weekend seeing him performing sketches and songs - dressing as a Spice Girl when required.
“Bringing fun and the social side of church has been a big thing and we have tried to involve the community as much as possible,” said Charles.
“Linda and I are ideal working as a partnership - Linda really gets things going and makes things happen.”
But they both agreed the highlight of the church year has been the Nativity around the village and in the barn, which now attracts well over 100 people each year.
And this church and community mix is something Charles plans to continue in his role at Horncastle, which includes churches in the surrounding villages.
“St Mary’s is a lovely building, central to the whole town, and if it can be used by different organisations and societies we can really bring the community into church and the church into the community,” he said.
“But it is all about service and giving honour to God - and it is his grace that allows us to do this.”
Charles’s final service at Middle Rasen will be this Sunday, February 8, at 10.30am and his welcoming service at Horncastle will be on February 26.
“We would like to thank people for their love and support while we have been here and for making our 12 years so enjoyable,” added Charles.
“We have built up a good ministry team here and so services and pastoral outreach will continue as normal until a new vicar is appointment.”