Parishioners say fond farewell to popular vicar
A popular Vicar is retiring after a decade at his Wigan parish.
Reverend Alan Overend, vicar of St Aidan’s Church in Billinge, is to move to Northwich after officiating at his final mass on Sunday.
Speaking about his tenure in Billinge, he commented: “It’s been a very enjoyable time.
“I’ve had really good support from all the wardens and the Parish Council members.”
The 63-year-old added: “I’ve enjoyed a wide variety of people in Billinge, from young families to older people, and the children from Billinge St Aidan’s Primary school. We’ve done a lot of work with them.
“We’ve developed a number of fresh expressions for the Church. These are ways of reaching people that the Church traditionally doesn’t reach.”
Reverend Alan issued a farewell message to the Church members ahead of his departure, saying: “What I have achieved has been down to God, and the people of St Aidan’s who have come along on their Christian journey in my time.
“God still has a vision for St Aidan’s and Billinge, and I encourage people to keep walking in faith and seeking God’s vision.”
In a letter to parishioners in the St Aidan’s church magazine, Alan reflected on his time at the church.
He wrote: “As I write my last Parish Letter before Jean and I move from St Aidan’s and Billinge, I have been looking at my first Parish Letter written in May 2007.”
He goes on to say: “In the inside of the magazine, some of the children wrote in 2007 about what they would like the ‘new vicar’ to do.”
Alan was challenge by children to tell them what it was like to be a vicar, lead assemblies on a regular basis and to teach new hymns and to help children with their Religious Studies.
“Looking back on my time here, I have been able to do some of those things, but sadly not all of them.
“I thank our Father God for the things that we have done together as a church, while at the same time, realising there are still things left undone, perhaps to tackle in the coming years.”