And turn up they did - over a hundred people came to a Barn Dance to mark the end of the ministry of Richard and Faith Burfoot in Chalford and to say goodbye.
The fact that so many people joined in the celebration is a mark of the huge respect which people have for Richard.
There were plenty of laughs and good memories to hold in the future.
On Sunday 18th May, Richard preached his last sermon in the church and members of the church fellowship were given the opportunity to pray for Richard and Faith and their new ministry with West Cliffe Baptist Church in Bournemouth.
Richard Burfoot ...
Our minister Richard Burfoot has been invited to take up a new ministry at West Cliff Baptist Church in Bournemouth, and will be leaving our community and moving on at the beginning of June.
One season ends and a new one is beginning!
Richard came to the Baptist Church in September 1995 as a student undertaking an in-pastorate degree at Regent's College Oxford.This meant that his time was split between the church and college, but as a church we felt blessed since there had not been a minister in the church for about 5 years.Richard came with his wife Faith and two children Ryan and Hannah, and after a year they were delighted with the birth of their second daughter Georgina.
After three years of commuting between Chalford and Oxford, Richard finished his training and was called by the church to take on the full time role of pastor in the church.
Many seasons had come and gone since there had been a full time minister at the ‘Tab'.
During his time in Chalford, Richard has thrown himself into village life and once the purchase of a new manse opposite the Tesco Express in Bussage had been finalised, the familiar sight of Richard first on a scooter, then a 2CV and finally a red sports car soon became common place.
Ministers come in many shapes and sizes as do most people and one of Richard's strengths is his ability to walk along side people in their everyday life and yet always seem to be available both in times of sorrow and difficulty as well as times of great joy.
He has been a familiar face at the school gates of both Chalford Primary School where he is a school governor and Bussage Primary School.
Many people have come to meet Richard as a result of his daily walk to school with Georgina and he has always made himself available as a friendly listening ear for those who needed it.
During Richard's ministry at Chalford Baptist Church, the church has seen many changes.
Numbers have grown and the church has a thriving fellowship which seeks to play a part in village life, offering many skills and talents to the community whenever they are needed.
Those of you who have attended a service in the Baptist church would have taken note of the man at the front with the guitar and the deep voice which have blessed the worship of the church for the last 13 years.
Richard is a gifted worship leader and preacher and he will be sorely missed by the fellowship at the Baptist Church, as well as by people in the community.He has headed up the Hospital Chaplaincy team at Stroud Hospital, sold one or two of you a motor car, and more recently maybe even washed your existing one for you on a Saturday morning outside Tesco.
Last summer during the water crisis, Richard took to the paths of Chalford and was inspirational along with others in seeing that those unable to leave their homes were supplied with water and a friendly face.
He is a man of vision and as one local person said,' What on earth are you up to now?'
Richard's time in Chalford is now coming to an end, and just as summer turns to autumn, so the church will undergo a few changes.
Once the leaves have been shed and there has been a time of readjustment, there is a promise of new growth which is usually even stronger and healthier than the old.
Chalford Baptist church will move forward, without Richard but with the promise of a new minister.
We say goodbye to Richard, Faith and the children and send them on their way with our love acknowledging God's call on them.
Richard BurfootRichard joined West Cliff as our Pastor and Team Leader in June 2008.He and Faith married in 1985 and they have three children, three grandchildren, a cat called Wellington and a dog called Talley!
Richard loves worshipping God, is a gifted communicator and is passionate about helping people embrace their true identity and freedom as children of God.
When he's not working, Richard loves spending time with his family, cooking and eating (!!) and can often be found on, in or near the water around the beautiful Dorset coastline.
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