As promised last Sunday, here a personal statement from Canon Alex:
As some of you know, 30 September this year marked the end of my five year contract as Chaplain to Holy Trinity Church. In December, I shall also celebrate my 70th birthday, which up until very recently was the mandatory retirement age for stipendiary clergy of the Church of England.
Some members of Holy Trinity Church have been kind enough to express a desire that my contract might be renewed and that I would continue as Chaplain after my 70th birthday, subject to the permission of the bishop.
After weighing up many matters, I hope carefully and prayerfully, my decision is that I shall retire at the end of this year, and consequently my last Sunday as Chaplain will be Sunday December 29th, the Feast of the Holy Family.
I hope that it goes without saying that this has been an extremely difficult decision. Geraldine’s and my time with you at Holy Trinity Geneva has been one that we both feel enormously privileged to have shared, and in a long ministry of over 40 years, these five years represent a fitting climax with a great deal of personal fulfilment and joy. Before I leave I will reflect on this in a fuller way.
For now, I believe that if there ever is a ‘good time’ to leave, then this is probably it. Building Tomorrow is going forward well, but there can be no doubt that the negotiations with Sites et Monuments and the other statutory bodies, including for some of the finance, la Ville de Genève, will now take some considerable time, however swiftly we can persuade things to proceed. But the financial aspect of the project looks very hopeful at present, and all of the basics of the plans have been endorsed by both Council and general Congregational consultations. I know that Mark, with your support, will be able to steer this forward to the enormous future benefit of our congregation here and of our mission in this place.
There will be another time for me to say much more. For now, I am very grateful to you all for the time I have spent with you.
Retirement is not an easy option. In reaching this decision, amongst the matters to which I have tried to do justice, are the inevitable facts about getting older! There is some travelling that we wish to do which has never been an option previously. We have also for a long time both felt that whilst I have some energy left, it would be good to be freely available to congregations around the diocese as a locum priest (and happily this has the support of Bishop Robert). There are also other things that I would like to research and about which I would like to write, whilst I am able. So I suspect that retirement will not be particularly empty, even if the north Highlands of Scotland are a rather different prospect from Geneva, in almost every conceivable way.
Everyone at Holy Trinity Geneva will certainly remain in my love and prayers and I am sure that we shall keep in touch in the future, and visitors to the Highlands will certainly find a welcome there!