Emotional farewell as church leaders retire for a third time
- Credit: SALVATION ARMY
A couple who travel 80 miles three times per week to lead a Chatteris church have retired for the third time.
Salvation Army Majors Richard and Pauline Cook have been making the round trip from Northampton for two years and are responsible for refurbishing the old kitchen, toilets and interior.
In the first nine months, they worked three days a week, taking responsibility for the leadership of Sunday worship.
They also carried out administrative and pastoral care, attended the luncheon club and carried out other duties.
During lockdown they continued to serve the corps from home, producing a fortnightly worship sheet for those who would normally attend church.
They also produced a newsletter for members of the lunch club and the wider community as well as providing pastoral care.
Members of the church attended a service at The Salvation Army Fortress on East Park Street to say an emotional goodbye.
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Richard said the event was emotional and church members showed their appreciation with a personal gift.
Pauline stepped down from The Salvation Army in Lewisham in 2008 and moved with her husband to The Salvation Army in Rothwell, Northamptonshire, where she supported Richard until his official retirement in 2012.
However, they continued for a further four years at Rothwell to see through a relocation of the church to the High Street. They retired from Rothwell in 2016.
After a two-year break, they approached the divisional commander Martin Hill and they were appointed to the Chatteris corps.
The couple paid tribute to their son Jonathan who has managed the Facebook page and website for the church for the last two years, resulting in many donations, financially and materially.
Richard said that he and his wife are looking forward to having a little more time for themselves, but stressed that as a pastor you never really retire.
They haven’t ruled out answering God’s call again, either
Richard said: “If the call came, we’d lay it before the Lord.
"It’s been an honour to serve people at Chatteris and we are praying God provides new leadership at some point.”