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Posts Tagged ‘Gerard Sharp’

As an institution, the Church of England can sometimes seem rather like retail banking: as soon as you get to cultivate a good relationship with the local rep, they get moved on.  No doubt it is all for the best.  There must be quite a few parish priests who would make good bishops. Better that the institution should benefit from their qualities across a slew of parishes than restricting them to just one or two.  So it is with distinctly mixed feelings that the congregation ‘losing’ a beloved pastor knows that the diocese to which he (or she) is being transferred is thereby receiving a singular stroke of fortune.

So it was in the 1990s, when the parish of St George’s Parktown, Johannesburg came to realise that their ‘man of God’, and the very model of a vicar,Gerard Sharp, was being considered for the succession to Duncan Buchanan, Bishop of Johannesburg.  In the event, it didn’t happen.  There came a Sunday when Gerard addressed us on the matter, disclosing the fact that he was against his name going forward; he would rather stay with us.  God, how we stood and clapped.  Tha applause went on and on, and he was clearly moved by it.

Now, some 20 years later, there is a rumour in Hanslope that our outstanding vicar, Fr Gary Ecclestone SSC, is ‘coming under pressure’ to accept some important benefice elsewhere.  He has said that he has no plans to move on; we know he loves the two parishes in his cure and we love him.  He wants to stay.

But I can’t help feeling that as soon as the idea is made known, it generates a momentum of its own.  It is a proposal which sotto voce  persists and is not going to go away soon.  It will happen.  The best get moved on so that others may be blessed as we have been blessed.  Please God, not yet.

And Gerard Sharp?  Well he’s now Dean of Johannesburg.  We miss him.

 

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