Goodbye From Revd. Luff & Family

It has been nearly six dizzying years since we came here. We had experienced some major disappointments and difficulties in Worthing and we were both wondering if I had it in me to lead a parish. We want to say thank you, for giving me a chance and for your welcome, for being people it was easy to fall in step with and for being willing to step out of your comfort zones in a way perhaps none of us had before. We were pleased to be part of and deliver the vision that was Love Southbourne and all it has become since, even Church Suite.

Nobody could have predicted the challenges that lay ahead in the next few years, but you never gave up, on us, or on the importance of living out the gospel. You knuckled down, stood up and made yourselves available in a way the village really needed. We have lived and loved one another during some truly challenging times, collectively for all, exceptional for a particular few and we have all experienced the loving kindnesses of God in both simple and dramatic ways.

We would like to thank you for your generosity and kindness in so many ways for us and our children, a little note, being prayed for, listening, supporting us, Christmas hampers, a walk in the fresh air, your good humour and laughter, but most of all your willing company as partners in the gospel.

Southbourne and West Thorney has been a special place and healing experience for us. It has been a privilege to lead, preach and teach here. A teacher at heart, I am always interested in what you will do with what you understand. I look forward to hearing how you grow from here as the next minister leads you forward.

It was my teaching mentor, Ivan, himself ordained, who said, ‘You should be ordained. Schools need ordained teachers.’ I believe now is the time for that to be fulfilled. Had I gone into school chaplaincy after ordination, I would not have learned the important things I have and have been constrained by expectations rather excited by possibilities.

A lot of people have asked how it feels to be going back to teaching, and I simply feel it is like the turning of the page and the closing of a circle. I think I needed to do it, I am glad I did it, and I will not forget it. But I have other things to do, and one shouldn’t delay. There’s a kingdom to see grow, and a new generation to prepare to build it.

So it is goodbye. Goodbye comes from the Olde English for God be with Ye. My most important verse, (and you know I have several), was given me by three Rwandan priests who stayed with us during the gencoide when I was a teenager. Before they returned to their people, they wanted me to learn to walk in God’s ways….

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths . Prov 3:

Matt, Kathryn and family