At a private meeting between the Bishop of Warrington, the Rt Revd Richard Blackburn and Rev Robert Gallagher Vicar at St Margaret, Toxteth they agreed that Father Robert will now retire on 31st October 2013. This will give Father Robert time to conclude his ministry at St Margaret’s. It will also enable the church and community the opportunity to give thanks for Father Robert’s 23 year ministry
Bishop Richard said “I have carefully and prayerfully listened to Father Robert and feel there are strong pastoral reasons to give him a short period of grace to conclude his time at St Margaret’s. We will now work to ensure that he is able to celebrate his ministry and plan for a good and peaceful retirement. I continue to pray for Robert and his wife Hilary as they look to their future together.”
The Diocese of Liverpool is also able to announce that the Rev Canon Bob Lewis will be given pastoral oversight of St Margaret’s when Father Robert retires. Canon Lewis 59, a highly experienced parish priest, was formerly Rector at St Oswalds, Winwick as well as being the Area Dean for Winwick. He will combine his parish duties at St Margaret’s with his role as Chaplain to staff at the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moore’s University.
In appointing Canon Lewis, Bishop Richard has asked that he works closely with the PCC to plan the future health and viability of St Margaret’s Church. Bishop Richard said “I am delighted that Bob has accepted God’s call to minister at St Margaret’s. Working alongside the churchwardens he will be able to continue the provision of worship as this historic church looks to its future ministry as a church for the community. As with all churches in our diocese we have a clear challenge to grow in Christ, taking forward the spiritual and numerical growth of the church whilst increasing its capacity to work with and serve the wider community. I will continue to pray for and take a close personal interest in St Margaret’s future”.
Canon Lewis added “I look forward to working and worshipping with the wardens and congregation, helping them discern under God the way forward. It has been a difficult few months but I believe that through working together as a church, with our colleagues in neighbouring parishes, and our partners in the community we can respond fully to Bishop Richard’s challenge”.