Canon Chris Ivory Retires

The Revd Canon Chris Ivory Retires from Public Minstry

Canon Chris Ivory retired from Public Ministry at the Minster on Sunday 31st May 2020, after 17 years of ministry with us.  We were able to arrange a presentation of gifts to Chris and his partner Christopher and held a celebration via zoom with many messages of thanks for the past we have shared and good wishes for their future.

We wish Chris & Christopher all the very best for their retirement and look forward to welcoming them back for a proper celebration at a later date, but share with you some of the highlights from the day here, Chris' farewell sermon can also be found on our sermons page.

Thank you from Chris & Christopher

Christopher and I want to say a very sincere thank you for the very kind words, huge number of cards and very generous gifts that we have we received as I retire and we both take our leave of you. I can’t describe how much of a privilege and a joy it has been to be with you over the last 17 years and we have far more to thank you all for than ever we have to be thanked for.

You kindly and generously welcomed Aunt Peg, Christopher and me to make our home with you and to share the life of the Church and the town. We have had a great adventure together as part of a team that has always been immensely supportive and encouraging – a succession of curates who have each brought their own special gifts, a number of retired priests have played their parts and been wise guides, and latterly Becca Rogers who, as Team Vicar, is exercising a brilliant ministry in North Lynn. But the team is not just the clergy, many lay people have made an even greater contribution to the life and work of the Church: Liz James and now Kelly Bowen as Parish Administrator, John Jordan and now Adrian Richards as Director of Music, David Moore continuing as Verger, 7 Churchwardens, many PCC members and never forget the numerous people who work very hard in many ways to make possible the life, activity, mission and ministry of the Minster.

Thank you for the generous gifts you gave us to mark our leaving. The very fine high quality headphones which will make it possible for me to indulge my love of organ music without offending the neighbourhood; the garden tokens for Christopher and a very generous cheque for £1,000. It is all far more than we deserve; you are all far too generous. Virtual leave-taking is a strange experience, but we very much look forward to a conventional gathering in October.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the recording of my last service. I think something was included from everyone who sent a contribution, but not everything was used because I ran out of time for knitting it all together. Thank you, also, everyone who was able to join the “Zoom” gathering this morning. Some technophobes made a great effort to join in, but I know that for a good proportion of us it is impossible. It was lovely to see so many faces, and to hear the voices of a few could only make a phone connection, but all who couldn’t join are equally remembered with love and gratitude. We all owe our gratitude to Angela for masterminding, not to say struggling with, the technology to make it all possible!


Speeches from the Churchwardens:

Dear Chris,

As many of us now know sometimes zoom meetings can be a challenge so first may I say, just in case we get technical problems and possibly we lose this link, these two simple words. THANK YOU.

This obviously was not the send-off we were hoping for and many of the congregation are saddened that they are not able to join in zoom but we are hopeful that you and Christopher can return later this year to be with us all and celebrate with a proper farewell service.

On behalf of the PCC and the congregation of King's Lynn Minster, Fiona and myself would like to say a few words to express our gratitude for all that you have done for us ,for all the work you have been involved  with and for making our place of worship an ongoing treasure. Thank you for the many Services you have led, the preparation and thought that you put into them has been much appreciated by the regular congregation as well as those attending Civic and Special Services.

Thank you, Chris, for the past 17years of service here at the Minster and your involvement with the wider community. For your guidance and expertise given to many committees and groups, Whitefriars academy, the Purfleet trust. MIND, North end + North Lynn community trust to name but a few.

Thank you, Chris, for leading us and for the encouragement you have given us all in God's name. Asking of us what is our vision for the future of St.Margarets now King's Lynn Minster. Through Prayer, belief, determination and some trepidation, so much has been achieved during your time here with us.

Thank you, Chris, for your tireless efforts to balance the finances'. Your acts of fund raising. Tea and music in the vicarage. The vicars bottle stall for most if not all our fete days and for the one service each year when we discuss our planned giving commitments along with prayer and praise.

In 2005 it was the completion of our 10 Bell restoration and installation of the new ringing chamber and eventually the Bells of St Margaret’s were again a welcome sound for the Town of King's Lynn.

In 2011 St Margaret’s became a Minster in recognition that as a Church it provided a ministry far wider than that of a normal Parish Church, it is the Civic Church of West Norfolk the title dose belongs to the building but once again Chris thank you  for the part you played in that recognition.

In 2015 you oversaw the final stage of the restoration of the wonderful Snetzler organ installed here in 1754. Work was carried out on the organ case, its pipes, its pedal stops, its large reed stops and the final stage of the tonal work completed the refurbishment.  It was obvious to see how proud you were to be involved with such a project.

One vision was to at last get us Toilets within the Church and it was decided to do this along with some much-needed restoration work so along with a new office, meeting room and loo's being built in the South West tower the project began. Along with the support of Kelly, it was you Chris who made this project possible. A heritage lottery grant was secured. Funds were raised and through your relentless efforts of grant applications the finance was in place and the work began. Finally, after ensuring no shoddy workmanship would be tolerated, you Chris made sure that the project was finally complete and handed over just in the nick of time. The frustration and the strain of such a huge amount of work must have at times been a great burden and at times questions would have been raised about the project ever being complete but finally completed it was.

For that Chris we say a huge Thank you.

Chris I could go on but as you always used to say at our PCC meetings it would be good to finish by 9.30!

And so, after all this and along with so much more that you have given to us and to many here in this Parish, we all hope you enjoy your much-deserved retirement and may God bless you and be with you now and always.

And now Fiona would like to say a few words to Christopher.

Thank you Andy.  Chris, Andy has spoken for us all and others will have things to say in a minute but my thanks to you too, for all that you have done and for the gifts that you have brought to your time in Lynn, for all the hard work you are still putting in to have everything as organised as it can be before you leave.  Thank you.

I don’t know whether everyone has had the chance to watch the Service you took this morning but I have to say that it was enhanced for me by the sight of the wafting incense mingling with the shaft of light that shone on you, the High Altar and the Reredos.  It was lovely.

We would also like to thank Christopher for all that he has done for the life of the Minster and for the support that he has given to Chris in his Ministry here. 

Christopher, you have contributed in so many ways to our Services, often multi-tasking – serving, singing in the Choir, as Cantor for the psalms and leading our intercessions.  You have been on the flower arranging rota and have helped Chris on numerous occasions to move furniture before and after so many of the Special Services.  

You have made Simnel Cakes and Hot Cross Buns, and poured wine during concert intervals. You have washed up hundreds of glasses, counted money and done so much more behind the scenes.

You were a regular cyclist for the Norfolk Churches Cycle Ride, usually covering many miles, and visiting a lot of Churches while raising money for the Minster as well as for the Norfolk Churches Trust.

You have been a loyal and increasingly renowned cake maker for the Tuesday and Saturday Cafes.  People have often asked for your cakes wondering what the latest recipe might be.  They have become quite a talking point and several of us have been trying to persuade you to continue baking, once you have moved house, devising ways to transport them to Lynn we have suggested that you put them on the train from Cambridge and we would meet it.

As Andy has said you and Chris were regularly seen running the bottle stall for the Fete and I shall miss our “friendly” rivalry as we competed in the various games organised by Andy and Carole.

I shall also miss seeing you, calmly and professionally following the score when page turning for pianists at concerts. I am sure that at times it was a lot harder than you made it look.

Many people will miss the Sunday afternoon concerts that you and Chris held in the Vicarage.  I am sure that you must have introduced people to music and instruments that they might not otherwise have known, as well as providing much entertainment and, yes, more cakes.

Thank you Christopher for all that you have done.   

A lot of people have sent cards to you both which you can read at your leisure but now, before other people have their turn to speak, it would be good if you would both open the card and the presents that we have given you.  They come with our love, thanks and very best wishes for a happy and healthy future.  We do hope to have another Celebration with you in due course.