Canon retires from his beloved parish of ‘fun’
AS CANON Cyril Roberts retires after 26 years in the parish of Snaith and surrounding villages, he has described the area as a ‘fun place to live’.
Confessing to never having wanted to come to a rural parish, he said the area had found a special place in his heart thanks to its old-fashioned sense of community.
Canon Roberts moved to minister to the communities of Snaith, Cowick, Gowdall, Pollington, Balne, High Eggborough, Hensall and Heck, from Maltby, where he had been a curate during the miners’ strike, from 1984 to 1986.
Prior to ordination, he had started out his working life as a maths teacher, firstly in a secondary school in Cheshire and then at Leeds University.
The 71-year-old says that the move to Snaith had changed his views of the role of a rural ‘parson’ as he likes to call himself.
“I came with the old-fashioned idea of the parson leading everything but soon realised that the role actually involved bringing out the best in people and encouraging them to use their skills within the church and community.”
Canon Roberts (right) started his time in the area as team rector, was then appointed rural dean of Hatfield and was made an honorary Canon of Sheffield Cathedral in 2005.
His time in Snaith has, he says, involved both happy and sad times – including the Gowdall floods and the Great Heck train tragedy, both of which drew the community together.
Offering solace to the victims’ family members as well as to those badly affected in the local community by the train crash and helping to deal with the aftermath of the carnage, left Canon Roberts suffering nightmares.
“There was one particular incident which deeply affected me,” he said. “I went into the carriage where most of the victims had lost their lives. I was alone and it was totally silent. Suddenly the mobile phone of one of the victims rang out.
“Every time I heard that ringtone afterwards, it sent a chill down my spine,” he said.
Just as the church played its part in those two events, Canon Roberts says: “I am a firm believer that the church should always be at the heart of the community and the community at the heart of and in the prayers of the church.
“It is the job of the parson to energise that.”
While he retired officially last Friday, Canon Roberts’ final services will be held on September 16, at Cowick Church at 10am and Snaith Priory at 5pm.
He and his wife Enid, are hoping to move to Carlton shortly. “We have met a lot of very, very, nice people over the years and we do not want to move away from everyone now.”
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Weather for Goole
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 30 mph
Wind direction: North east
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