REVEREND Tom Parker has spoken of his sadness at leaving Holy Trinity after almost a decade at the Stalybridge town centre church.
Rev Parker retired on December 31, 2017 having last year reached the age of 65.
He said: “I am not forced to go, but decided the time is right.
“I am sad to be leaving because I have had a wonderful time and I am fond of the community in Stalybridge as well as the church family.
“Being in a central place has been ideal as we are at the heart of the community. We have done a lot, including having street pastors and also a foodbank.”
Originally from Durham, the father-of-four became a Christian while studying at university.
But the church did not immediately come calling as he was initially a chemical engineer working in London for Kodak.
That was followed by 17 years as a teacher in London and the Midlands.
He explained: “I wondered about full-time service in the church, but found a niche in teaching.
“There were a lot of changes in education and I made the jump.
“There are a lot of similarities in teaching to the church in that you are trying to bring the best out of people, though in the church there is a spiritual dimension.”
But at the age of 40, Rev Parker finally turned to the ministry and was ordained as curate at St Chad’s, Romiley, where he spent 14 years before moving to Holy Trinity.
Rev Parker will live at Chapel-en-le-Frith where he has had a “bolthole” for some time.
As for his retirement with wife Judy, he said: “We will have to wait to see what God has in store for us.
“Initially we will be resting and visiting family as all four of our children live in London.”
Judy was also a teacher before becoming a full-time mother to their children. She was a street pastor in Stalybridge and worked alongside her husband supporting him in his ministry.