Saturday, 27 August 2016

Ian Godfrey

A man of faith, humility and great courage in the face of health issues in his final weeks was how the Rev Ian Godfrey was remembered in tributes at his funeral in Goostrey. 
  But even as he was desperately poorly in a Manchester hospital, Ian was already planning for his work in the parishes once he was discharged, said the Archdeacon of Macclesfield, the Venerable Ian Bishop.
Leaving Goostrey for Swettenham
 The Vicar of St Luke's, Goostrey, and St Peter's, Swettenham, Ian's death stunned villagers in the twin communities. St Luke's was packed with family, close friends, parishoners and clergy for the service relayed to an overspill congregation gathered in the churchyard. For the committal at St Peter's church, Swettenham, Ian was transferred to a  carriage drawn by two black-plumed cobs to spend two minutes outside the church before the service.
 The formality of the 80-minute  funeral service conducted by the archdeacon and presided over by Dr Peter Forster, the Bishop of Chester, was also an occasion of celebration for the life of Ian.
 A knot of clergymen  led by Dr Forster processed to the church from Goostrey school in advance of the funeral service on a day blessed with sunshine.  And almost at the moment the service began a thrush, apparently hidden from view in the churchyard's 1,000-year-old yew tree, broke into song as if making its own tribute to a much loved vicar.
 Ian, who was 59, moved to Goostrey in March 2011, with his wife, Audrey and their daughter Louise from Mill Hill, London. Their two older children, Matthew and Christopher, continued to live in Mill Hill.
Ian is carried from St  Luke's
 Ian joined Barclay's Bank after leaving school and after a successful career spanning 35 years, he was a corporate director when he made the decision to become a full-time minister.  He was ordained priest in June 2002 at Hampstead Parish Church and was inducted as vicar in April 2011 at St Luke's, Goostrey, where his arrival was described as a "breath of fresh air..."
A section of the overspill congregation
The Rev Pat Jones,a friend and team vicar of Thatcham, spoke of Ian's life, his love of football, cricket, singing, the fact he was nicknamed "Goozie"  from primary school and sometime quirky aspects of his personality, such as being hooked on train spotting, and he was a devoted family man, with Audrey as his rock. "We all have fond memories of  Ian and can share in his humility, courage and faith". 
  Venerable Bishop said Ian served his communities beyond all expectations.
 "Time spent with him was time gained not lost," said the archdeacon.
Ian with Bishop Richard  Courtesy
 "He was genuinely a faithful man and even when struggling with his health, he would not give in. He never bemoaned his health issues. A week before he died he was planning his return to work." Canon Martin Poll, chaplain of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, a close friend of Ian and his wife, and a former curate of John Keble Church, read the gospel during the service.
 Ian was at Goostrey Rose Festival where he chatted and joked with villagers and was at St Luke's for the parish communion service at the end of July. It was also in July that he travelled to John Keble Church for the patronal festival where he administered the chalice, and afterwards attended evensong officiated by the Bishop of London, the Rev and Rt Hon. Richard Chartres, who ordained Ian. 
*Double-click images to enlarge 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

 Villagers mourn  death of their parish priest.

The Rev Ian Godfrey, vicar of St Luke's Church, Goostrey and St Peter's Church,
Ian Godfrey
Swettenham, has died at Manchester Royal InfirmaryIan moved to Goostrey in March 2011 with his wife Audrey and their daughter Louise from Mill Hill, North West London. Their two older children Matthew and Christopher, both with established careers,continued to live in Mill Hill.  He was a non stipendiary minister serving John Keble Church, Edgware where he had been attending with his parents and brother since the 1960s before coming to the village.
St Luke's Church from the Bongs
After leaving school, Ian joined Barclays Bank and following a successful career spanning 35 years he was a corporate director when he made the decision to become a full time minister. He was ordained priest in June 2002 at Hampstead Parish Church and was inducted as vicar in April 2011 at St Luke's, Goostrey.
   His death on Sunday announced initially on the Love Goostrey website, stunned villagers who had chatted and joked with him at Goostrey Rose Festival only several weeks ago following an absence from the pulpit due to illness.
A vicarage tea party
  One of his last services was a special celebration of the Queen's 90th birthday attended by a packed congregation including the village's scouts and guides, cubs and beavers.
  Earlier this year, one of the highlights of his ministry was the visit of the Church of England's first woman Bishop, the Right Reverend Libby Lane, the Bishop of Stockport, to officiate at St Luke's annual Plough Service held at the Orchards Farm, Twemlow. 
  Parishioners have spoken of their sadness at the loss of Ian who arrived in the village to live at the Vicarage in Blackden Lane as a "breath of fresh air" as he took on the challenge of looking after the church and its flock in both parishes.
The Bishop of Stockport at Plough Sunday
  "Ian was an amazing man and quickly settled into his work in the parish," said a member of the congregation. "You could hardly keep up with him as he involved himself in church life and village activities. He was particularly keen on visiting people and dropping into the meetings of organisations involving all ages.
  "When he became ill he was still very determined to carry out his duties even though at times he insisted on doing them on crutches or from a wheelchair. 
"He was certainly one of the most courageous and lovely individuals one could wish to meet. He will be sadly missed by the parish both here and in Swettenham."
  Ian's funeral will be held at St Luke's Church on Friday, August 26 at 2pm followed by interment at St Peter's.