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By Tristan Harris Sunday 26 January 2014 Updated: 29/01 23:48
THE VICAR of St John's and St Andrew's Churches in Bromsgrove is leaving his post after almost five years in the town.
Rev Chris Wingfield is taking up a new role just outside York. As the Rector of the Harton benefice, he will be in charge of ten churches and their parishes, which span 14 villages.
Speaking to The Standard he said: "It was a difficult decision to make - we have had a wonderful time here.
"It's going to be sad leaving so many friends and so many people we know."
Rev Wingfield's wife Thelma has family up in Yorkshire and one of his sons lives in Hull.
He said: "It will be new and exciting and there will be a different kind of busy-ness there."
Rev Wingfield joined his current parishes in 2009 when he became the rector of the then newly created Bromsgrove team.
During his time here he has accomplished so much and been involved in a variety of community projects.
He was the man behind the Bromsgrove Street Pastors after starting a similar town pastors scheme at his previous parish in Ipswich.
Since their introduction, the Street Pastors have been welcomed by revellers and the project has become a great success in the town, gaining praise from the police and other organisations.
Paul Lewis from Bromsgrove Baptist Church has now taken over the reins of the scheme and Rev Wingfield wished him and the pastors well.
There have also been a number of other developments in Rev Wingfield's five years here - St John's has had a brand new lych gate and became the first Grade 1 listed church in the country to have its lead roof replaced with Glassfibre Reinforced Polyester (GRP). The action was taken after the church fell victim to seven lead thefts in six months.
Plenty of seeds have also been planted for the future - Churches Together in Bromsgrove (CTIB) has grown and developed, which Rev Wingfield lists as one of his main achievements. And CTIB now has a stall as part of Bromsgrove's farmers' market to promote what it does.
St John's was also the venue for the town's first ever Midwinterfest which was hailed a success and it is hoped will be the first of many.
Rev Wingfield added: "There have been so many fond memories - watching the churches coming together and the great sense of community in Bromsgrove.
"I was so appreciative of the amount of energy that the churches in Bromsgrove have to get things done for the community.
"It has been a privilege to be part of this growth and see people's journeys of faith come alive.
"I will take lots of special memories and the knowledge that, when we join and work together, great things can be achieved.
"You can achieve more by working together than you can working alone and that is what the churches in Bromsgrove are about."
"I would like to wish Bromsgrove churches and the town every success in the future."
Rev Wingfield's last Sunday service in Bromsgrove will be at St John's at 10.45am on March 9, followed by a farewell luncheon.
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