Time to say Goodbye

Leading worship on Sunday 30th April 2017 © Sybille Yates

Today I conducted my final service at St Clement’s Anglican Episcopal Church, Prague. After nearly twenty-eight years of full-time ordained ministry, I have retired.

I really didn’t quite know what to expect today. But during the week beforehand, I decided to prepare for worship just as I have done previously week by week, for over eight and a half years since arriving Prague in September 2008.

My sermon was therefore based on the Biblical readings set in the Revised Common Lectionary for the Third Sunday of Easter. – in particular the resurrection appearance of Jesus to the the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as recorded in Luke 24. 13-35, together with the end of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost – Acts 2. 36-41. As I always do, I tried to put the readings into context and explain the historical and cultural background. Having done that, I then asked what the passages have to say to us about our faith and how we might live out that faith in the coming week.

Sharing the Peace © Sybille Yates

Administering Holy Communion © Sybille Yates

Whilst we had a small number of visitors, the rest of the congregation was made up of our regular worshippers, together with some of the less regular ones who had made a special effort to be present on my final Sunday. Yet as our Welcomer Sally, (who did the head count), said, the attendance was actually slightly higher than that on Easter Day.

Presentation of gifts by Churchwarden Stephen Weeks © Sybille Yates

At the end of the service, I was presented with a framed drawing of St Clement’s, along with a framed photograph of myself wearing cassock-alb and stole. But I also made my own presentation, much to the amusement of the congregation – that of the Chaplaincy mobile phone, to Rev’d Nathanial Bm who will be the interim Chaplain over the coming months.

Presenting the Chaplaincy Mobile Phone © Sybille Yates

Following worship, there was a very well-attended bring and share lunch, held in the hall on the third floor of Klimentská 18, across the road from the Church. Here there was a second presentation, this time of a dummy cheque for a very large sum of money, which I was promised would be paid to me by bank transfer, early next week. This was then followed by a champagne toast.

After a whole series of ‘goodbyes’, Sybille and I finally set off for the tram, waving a goodbye to the Church as we passed by. We made our way to one of our favourite bar-restaurants for a beer and a bite to eat as, because of everyone wanting to speak to us, we ate very little of the bring and share lunch 🙁

Whilst we were sitting enjoying our drinks, what song should come over the bar-restaurant’s sound system? ‘Time to say Goodbye’ 🙂 We both felt it was rather appropriate.

18 comments to Time to say Goodbye

  • Pauleen Bang

    Happy Retirement, Ricky. Hope you will keep in touch.

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Pauleen! I will certainly keep in touch & thanks again for commenting here.

  • Heather Garnett

    Happy Retirement. Good luck to you both. Heather and Fred

  • So glad you had such a special day, Ricky. I still remember my three farewell services (curate, vicar and assistant priest) very vividly. Good luck with the packing and the move.

    • Ricky

      Three for me too, Perpetua. As Curate of Hoddesdon, Rector of Shelswell & Chaplain of Prague. But this one has had a bigger impact on me as it isn’t just the end of eight & a half years of being Anglican Chaplain in Prague but the end of almost twenty-eight years of full-time ministry. But I’m glad to still have Dresden to focus on.

  • Ricky

    This is a comment by Alan Schmidt, (even though it will appear as though it comes from Ricky), because he couldn’t get around the CAPTCHA 🙂

    I arrived in Prague 1n September 2000 – a month after The Revd John Philpott and his wife Margaret. They left in April 2008 and I left Prague at the end of September 2014 – so my time in Prague -and at St Clement’s – was divided between only two chaplains. It is hard to comprehend that your incumbency was the same length as John’s – the time seems somehow to have been so eventful!

    I wish you and Sybille well as you move to the German border. It all looks very promising.

    I am glad that you ended your chaplaincy with such great churchwardens. Gordon and Stephen seem to have suited your ministry style – and obviously have the skills required to negotiate with a very unusual diocesan administration.

    You and Sybille will remain in my prayers, as will the congregations of St Clement’s Prague. I remember being a Welcomer in +/- 2002 and greeting a man who told me that he had been a member of the congregation. Of course I invited him over for coffee after the service. There was not one member of the congregation that he recognised – but it was still the ‘same’ congregation!

    All Blessings


  • Ricky

    Thank you, Alan! I’ve impersonated you as best I can & copied & pasted what you wrote in your message.

    The word you wanted in your first paragraph was ‘incumbency’ (which is what I’ve inserted 😉 ), and it is still used. My incumbency has actually been a year longer than John’s. He was Chaplain for just over seven & a half years – I’ve been here for just over eight & a half years. I made the point at the recent Annual Church Meeting, that St Clement’s had been very fortunate to have had only two Chaplains in nearly 17 years.

    Thank you for your best wishes & prayers which are much appreciated. The current Churchwardens & Church Council make a very good team and were complimented as such by +Robert during his recent visit to Prague.

  • Congratulations, Ricky! May you have a fruitful retirement. I look forward to reading of your further adventures…

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Stephen! Further adventures will appear here in due course. A new header with a new tag line has already been created & will appear here shortly.

  • Sean McCann

    Best wishes on your retirement Ricky and continued good health and happiness to both yourself and Sybille as you face into your new life. I hope you have many joyous years in your new home. Slán go fóill, Sean,

    • Ricky

      Thank you Sean, for your good wishes & for continuing to be such a faithful commenter here.

  • Robert Doolittle

    Congratulations Ricky on your retirement (although Christians never really retire). We wish you and Sybille happy and productive days in the future. We enjoyed attending St. Clement’s and always could tell from your attitude and ministry that you took the command that Jesus gave his disciples on Maundy Thursday seriously.
    God be with you,
    Elaine and Robert Doolittle

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Bob & Elaine! I like and agree with your comment that as Christians, we never retire 🙂

      I’ve deleted your PS before replying to your comment but have answered it privately by email.

  • Pavel

    Enjoy your retirement and life in North Bohemia! Great blog, one of few I can read (because of authenticity). Hopefully you will continue writing here 🙂

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Pavel. I’m sure I will enjoy my retirement & I certainly to intend to continue writing from my new home.

  • Hi Ricky, just catching up on all your posts… leaving Prague and arriving in your new town. I bet it was bittersweet to leave Prague– and seems like you had such a nice last service and time spent in the old neighborhood– but it looks like your new area is so beautiful! Welcome to Czech life outside the capital!

    • Ricky

      Hi Cynthia – Thank you for commenting here once again & reading all my recent posts 🙂

      I certainly felt a mixture of emotions at my final service and also during the following two weeks as we packed up our belongings in the flat after living there for over eight & a half years. The new area where I’m now living is certainly very beautiful – you cannot fault the view from the front door 🙂 So far, I’m certainly enjoying Czech life outside of the capital city.