At the end of January, we will farewell Barry and Gloria Marsh from the staff of the Cathedral.   Barry will be on holidays in January, though it is to be spent looking after the Church in Norfolk Island.   So effectively, Barry’s last Sunday on the full-time staff of the Cathedral will be Boxing Day.

Barry joined the Cathedral immediately after his (first) retirement at the beginning of 1997.  He had been the rector of the parish of Narellan since 1970 and the Chaplain of Macarthur Anglican School since 1984.    Upon Barry’s retirement Boak Jobbins invited him to work part time with the Cathedral doing pastoral visiting three days a week.  Within a month Boak and he agreed that the amount of work and the wide geographical spread of the congregation would mean that the job would require fulltime employment.

Since then, Barry’s responsibilities have changed many times, especially with the departure of the Jobbins and the Bartletts.  During the lengthy interregnum between Deans, involving working with three acting Deans, Barry became the point of continuity in organising the ministry of the Cathedral.  He has been tireless in his attention to the details of Cathedral.

Few in the Cathedral congregation have been untouched by Barry’s warm and humorous kindness.  He has listened to us, prayed for us and with us, and very gently chastised and prodded us in the way to go.   Ever courteous and careful of peoples’ feelings, Barry has walked the difficult line of diplomacy and principle with great skill.   His entertaining and highly individualistic style of making announcements has often personalised the Cathedral services without diminishing their solemnity.

Gloria’s ministry amongst us has also been widely appreciated.  Her care of individuals and her service, particularly to the 8:30am Communion congregation, has consistently endeared her to us.  Gloria has exercised many ministries amongst us – she often reads the Bible lesson with great care and clarity – but is chiefly committed to the Mother’s Union, which she has been ably leading for some years.

Since coming to the Cathedral in March 2003, I have found in Barry a colleague and a brother whose advice to me has been considered, wise and loving.  I have been very thankful to God that in Barry I have had such a mentor in Cathedral ministry.  His gracious advice has been invaluable.  His knowledge of people has helped both the congregations and other staff enormously.

It is sad that we are not able to continue financing Barry’s ministry amongst us.   However, our present level of funding requires us to make some economies in the next year.

Barry discussed the possibility of his retirement with us as a cost cutting exercise when we were setting the budget twelve months ago.  I did not, and still do not, want to lose such a valuable member of staff.  However, without a sudden sizable increase in offertories we cannot sustain our present level of expenditure.   As there has been already a 16% increase in offertories this year, and as we will require an even larger increase next year, it was considered wiser to make some economies now.

As with his employment so with his retirement I am deeply grateful to Barry for his generous commitment to our Lord, and willingness to serve the ongoing cause of His gospel and the ministry of the Cathedral.  I have invited Barry and Gloria to stay with us as members of the Cathedral and have assured them of our desire to have them stay with us.  They are considering their options and I would commend them to your prayers as they work out where they should be serving our Lord.

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