Rev Grist bids goodbye to Stalybridge Congregational Church

STALYBRIDGE Congregational Church is losing its part-time minister.

Rev Brian Grist

The Rev Brian Grist, who only took up the post in March, is leaving at the end of December.

He cites travelling from Thornton Cleveleys, in Lancashire, and also differences within the church as the reasons for his departure.

The Rev Grist, 68, says making the 110-mile round trip is “unsustainable”, pointing out he made it three times in one week.

He added there was opposition to the changes he wanted to implement.

The Rev Grist believes not living locally was a hindrance.

He said: “Distance was the biggest problem. If I had been a resident in Stalybridge it would have been better as I didn’t get the chance to know people.

“From a point of building relationships, it didn’t work that well.”

Church secretary Jennifer Lisle said: “We are sorry to see Brian go. 

“We had our differences on how some things should be done but the distance and travelling was a major factor in his decision. 

“We wish him and his wife Carole well with whatever he does next.”

The Rev Grist, president of the Congregational Federation, has been in the ministry for almost half a century and described his strength as building up churches and deriving great pleasure from making them grow.

In the past he had opened churches in Scotland at Lockerbie in the wake of the air crash in the town, Dumfries and Castle Douglas as well as in Penrith, Cumbria.

He was ordained as a Pentecostal minister and over a 30-year period served in Middlesbrough, Broadstairs, Macclesfield, Carlisle and Derby.

The Rev Grist later switched to the Congregational Federation with postings in Carlisle and Blackpool where he is still involved in the church and helps run a soft play centre.

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