Church brings transformation says retiring Diocesan Secretary

“The Church brings transformation and abundant life into challenging situations in our changing society.”

That was one of the messages from Canon Rosemary Pearce, as she gave her farewell address to Diocesan Synod. Rosemary retires today after 21 years as Diocesan Secretary. “Our communities are changing, our environment is changing but it’s a time when the church, with the power of the Holy Spirit, can help to bring transformation and abundant life,” Rosemary told Synod members.

Rosemary remembered the challenges of her role, especially in balancing the diocesan budget. She noted the vital improvements in safeguarding procedures to protect vulnerable people from abuse, that she said the Church has learned painfully is not a new thing. “But we are coming to recognize, acknowledge and work with the reality.”

Rosemary said she had been in the fortunate position of seeing how God is at work in rural, urban and suburban settings. She said she hoped we would increasingly value the ministry taking place in contexts different to our own and: “increase our sense of being one body, the people of God in the Diocese of Oxford.”

“That’s why it’s important that we have a parish share system that recognizes the need for mutual support so that ministry can be provided in difficult situations on behalf of us all and I suppose that is one of the reasons it’s so disappointing when parishes withhold share. A body of Christ which only has toes is of limited use.”

Rosemary said she felt working for the Diocese was not about running an institution but supporting the building of communities.

“It’s been wonderful to work with talented and committed colleagues under the leadership of some inspirational, really impressive bishops and archdeacons. I have really enjoyed working with clergy and lay people, from parishes and deaneries, those of you who have given time to be on synod or work on the diocesan board of councils and I want to thank you and those that you represent for all that you do on behalf of the Church.”