The Rev'd Tony Tamblyn
The Rev'd Tony Tamblyn reflects on retirement after 40 years in ministry, 20 of which were spent at St Peter's, Glenelg.
In the porch at St Peter’s Glenelg there are photos of past Rectors. I have often stood before them, thinking about them, perhaps looking for some inspiration for a particular time in ministry.
It’s 5.00am. I’m at my desk. I can’t sleep. It’s the first Sunday of my retirement. Where will we go to Church today? Will we go to Church today? It’s a different set of questions now.
After 5 years in Warracknabeal, 6 years in Warrnambool, 7 years in Woodville, never in my wildest dreams did I think we would spend nearly 20 years at Glenelg.
I remember when I came here my initial thoughts were, “Will I be able to hold this Parish together? What if it goes downhill during my time here?”
Parish ministry, I’ve discovered, is never about micro-managing, but about mutual ministry of clergy with lay people, of shared ministry, trusting each other, using people’s gifts, delegating, even celebrating differences.
There have been so many changes in ministry over the last 40 years. I remember one of the first things I had to do in my first parish in 1978 was to introduce the people to a new prayer book. We have had to adjust to the computer age, and to the ordination of women. And what a delight it has been to work with so many ordained women.
In the end, we can only be ourselves, and offer ourselves to others as the best resource we can give. We often feel that is not adequate enough and yet I have learnt that it is often at those times when I have felt that I have nothing left to give, that I could give most deeply. At those times of vulnerability we are brought very close to God.
Overwhelmingly my response to the past forty years is one of thankfulness. Parish life is all about community and people still yearn for community and meaning and belonging.