I have been fortunate enough to know Graham for nearly all of the 26 years I have lived in Fulking.
As an atheist, having lapsed as a christian some 60 years ago, I have found that the basics of true socialism are very similar to the teachings of Christianity and this enables me to identify with what I believe is Graham’s mission.
And so, to get to the point, the news that he will be leaving us and retiring from the Downland Parishes, in particular St Andrews, Edburton, came as quite a shock and caused me to enquire of various villagers and churchgoers whether in their opinion his retirement was his choice or was he ’pushed’; I have not been able to come to a clear conclusion. Either way it seems that the days of Graham’s quite delightful carol service have gone, which in itself is a great pity.
What is an atheist doing at a carol service? I found the wonderful sense of community created by the regular full house each year quite moving and I love the nostalgia of the carols. It was created almost entirely by Graham’s personality.
It will be very interesting to see what effect his departure has on the size of the regular congregation at St. Andrews. Will it shrink or disappear? If so, what happens then? I am sure you will join me in wishing Graham success in whatever he chooses to do next, as I cannot see him actually retiring!
Note: Graham’s last service will be on Sunday 18th November at 11am, with drinks and cake after the service – details here