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11-year Halesworth minister to retire

PUBLISHED: 08:00 12 December 2008 | UPDATED: 07:50 01 August 2010

THE minister of Halesworth and Bramfield United Reformed Church will give his final service at the end of the year after over 11 years in Halesworth.

The Rev Richard Edwards, who has also worked all over the country, is retiring after nearly 40 years in the priesthood.

THE minister of Halesworth and Bramfield United Reformed Church will give his final service at the end of the year after over 11 years in Halesworth.

The Rev Richard Edwards, who has also worked all over the country, is retiring after nearly 40 years in the priesthood.

“I'm very sad to be finishing,” he said. “But on the other hand I'm 65 now and I feel that it's right for a younger person to take on the ministry in the future.

“I will miss the fellowship of people in the churches here, in Halesworth and Bramfield, although obviously in retirement I hope to become part of a local church.”

Throughout his career Mr Edwards has worked very closely with his wife Ann, who has been actively involved in the ministry, and she will also be retiring as a church volunteer.

The couple will be moving to Stowmarket to retire, where they have a daughter.

She said: “I'm looking forward to being nearer to the grandchildren. But I've had a wonderful time here and I love Halesworth. I'll be sad to go.”

Mr Edwards started in the Baptist ministry in 1969, serving in the west Suffolk parishes of Norton, Elmswell and Bardwell. He stayed there for 11½ years before moving to Newhaven in Sussex and then to Long Buckby and Brington in Northamptonshire.

He was then employed for 15½ years as chaplain to merchant seamen with the British and International Sailors' Society, working in ports in London, Southampton and Gravesend.

He applied for the post at Halesworth in spring 1996 after the Rev Ken Tracey announced his retirement.

He said that he had seen a lot of changes in the job since starting nearly 40 years ago.

“I think there's a greater emphasis on team ministry today,” he said. “And of course there's been a tremendous change in the type of hymns and songs that are in services, and changes in technology. In most of our services now we use a projector for hymns when we used to always have hymn sheets.”

Mr Edwards will give his final service at Bramfield Chapel on December 14 at 3pm and at Halesworth on December 28 at 11am.

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