Farewell to Rev'd Ian Whitham

Farewell to Rev'd Ian Whitham

Sunday 20th June was a sad day for us within the Benefice, and most particularly for us at All Saints, St Leonards and St Ives, as we said goodbye to our much loved Ian Whitham, his lovely wife Lianne, and his family, Wesley, Joshua and Amy. When the Benefice was formed in 2017, Ian became our Associate Minister, and he has spent most of his time since then among us, while living at the Vicarage in Pine Drive. He soon immersed himself in the local community, becoming a Governor at St Ives school, led many of the school assemblies, and forged a relationship with the school, its staff and its pupils that continues to develop and grow to this day. He and Lianne joined the local St Ives  Club in their personal capacity, and became regulars at their social events, and so became the “face” of our church in that place. Ian introduced us to new concepts for Church, for services, for the way forward, for moving our church out into our local community. Not always an easy concept to embrace, but one which we must at some time face?

When Covid struck the country in March 2020, church life as we had known it changed beyond recognition, All Saints church closed, and the clergy were forced to “think outside the box”. On line services were introduced, and Ian was at the forefront of this, presenting regular services while walking with his dogs in the Forest, or being in his back garden among his lawn and his vegetables! If this taught us anything,  it is that God is with us everywhere, not only in church buildings.

Ian’s ministry among us has brought him and us many unforeseen challenges, but throughout all these, his faith, his love of our Lord, and his encouragement to us all has been undiminished, and he has been an inspiration to us all. For this, and so much more, we thank him.

After the Holy Communion Service led by Ian and attended by over 40, he was presented with a card and a gift, and Lianne a bouquet of flowers on behalf of us all. A buffet lunch was held in the Church Centre afterwards, when those present were able to make their personal thanks to Ian and his family, for his ministry to us, to express their love and their thanks to him and his family. Rev Matthew Trick led a tribute to Ian and his Ministry in the Benefice on behalf of us all, and he spoke movingly of Ian’s many attributes and talents, which leave a lasting legacy to the Ringwood Benefice and  the wider community.

So, Ian, Lianne, your children, your family- as we send you on your way for the next stage of your Christian journey, we wish you every happiness, we hold you in our prayers, and thank you for your time with us, your ministry to us, and pray that God will direct you as to where He wants you to be in the years to come 🙏❤️

On a personal note, Ian and Lianne, I thank you for your love, your friendship, your spiritual development to me during your ministry at All Saints.

Rev'd Ian Whitham