For some clergy the day of retirement comes with a disappointment and a sense of forthcoming loss. For others it carries with it a feeling of relief: no more PCCs, no more organising and planning or endless numbers of funerals!
For me, I had a new appreciation of freedom. I know that freedom does not exist in a vacuum. One can be free from or free to. I became free from a persistent health issue; and free from management and living with a full diary. Yes, full time ministry does offer tremendous freedom within the Anglican framework, though it was exhausting and wearing affecting my health. Now I have the gift of good health, of life in the Brendon Hills and a regular (modest) income and time. Now my day by day encounters with others can increase! Therefore ministry inevitably continues from the sidelines. I became free in the sense of having spare time to use, and free to put energy into interests which have been either suppressed or crammed into odd moments in the past.
Rather than writing parish magazine articles, sermons and talks, or preparing discussions, I use my pen (yes I also have an i pad and computer) to write: short stories, poetry and latterly a novel. These efforts are not always with a religious theme by any means.
So now I have had a novel published: Through the Wall. It is based in Berlin both during WW2 and in the Cold War years and, in part, is autobiographical. The publisher is Austin Macauley, and the book is available from Amazon or bookshops.
There may be a sequel…
If you are retired, what do you do with the gift that comes with it? It could be painting, weaving, writing or even motor racing…
Hugh served virtually all his ministry in Bath and Wells, latterly as Rural Dean of Tone, which he took on when he had newly retired.