Rector’s Letter read at the Annual Easter Vestry

Dear Friends

I have started every letter in the magazine over the last 24 years with, ‘Dear Friends’. Back then there was a degree of presumption in doing so but truly no longer. Just as Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I no longer call you servant but friends.’ So too I no longer call you parishioners but friends.

Many of you will already be aware of the difficult month I have had with ill health.  I have tried to be open and honest with you all; partly because there is no point in being secretive and partly because if you know the truth you can pray intelligently for me.  I have always dealt in truth trying faithfully to proclaim God’s truth week by week. There is nothing to fear in the truth, in fact, it sets us free. What started out as anaemia resulting in tests, showed up extensive secondary cancers in the liver. Further tests show a primary cancer in the large bowel.  Surgery is not realistic so the treatment option is chemo-therapy starting on 12th April.  It will probably last about six months.  It is not treatment for a cure but to enhance the quality of life left to me.

God in his grace and mercy has allowed me some time. This time is precious as it allows for an orderly tidying up of practical affairs.  It will also allow Eleanor and me the opportunity to enjoy all our children and grandchildren.

I have always held firm to a gospel of hope and resurrection – and that is not a hope for this world alone but for eternity.  My days are numbered but that is true for us all I know that I will soon be made whole in Him. I will not be the one at any disadvantage for I will be with Him and that is the goal to which we all press on.

Our 24 years in Knockbreda have been years of great blessing to us.  As we have shared in your times of joy and sorrow so too you have shared in ours. We have known your love and care and have really appreciated it.  As we walk together this last part of my earthly pilgrimage, we are very conscious of your love and prayers surrounding our whole family.

Yours sincerely

Philip Patterson

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