Farewell Barry

Barry holds his farewell gift, which shows fishing scenes

After 19 years of faithful service, Rev Barry Pate retires to St Ives

Here is what Churchwarden Peter said at his farewell party, which was attended by the congregation, other clergy, and other contacts Barry made in his work in the Wilbury community


Barry Emile Charles Pate

My first encounter with Barry was embarrassing for me. It was at his induction service, and I was in charge of the Public Address System. The microphone allocated to him wouldn’t stop crackling, whatever I did, so we just abandoned it, and he projected his voice. So we knew, right from the start, that, when he chooses, he can make himself heard. I was embarrassed; it would not be the only time!

Barry has a heart for children. He loves them and they love him! One of the first endeavours was “Saints and Sausages” at Halloween/All Saints-tide. It was well attended and great fun.

Kids Cook is another of Barry’s projects, which has been of great benefit to local children. On Tuesdays in School Holidays kids and their families are invited to come for lunch, and games and activities of one sort or another, and a short video with some sort of Christian message. The idea is to fill a gap for children who get free school meals, but we never discriminated. It’s tribute to Barry’s ability to engage with people that the school cooks enthusiastically joined in. Sadly, with Barry’s departure, that seems to have gone! However other organisations are planning something similar; a tribute to Barry’s vision and hard work.

Also down to Barry is Holiday Club; it is very successful, engaging generations of children over the 19 years. Often those who became too old to be “clients” became helpers, bringing the enthusiasm of youth, and an ability to engage with the kids in a different way from us adults. Barry presides over all this, and with his combination of gentle bullying and genuine interest, both of which the kids love, makes the whole thing a fun and loving experience. Luckily Barry will preside over all of Holiday Club next week, three days as our Vicar, and two days as a volunteer! In all of this he is supported by a hugely capable team. I suspect our Parish Profile will suggest that we want his successor to continue this vital tradition.

Barry has a heart for pastoral care. We don’t see all the visiting he does, and we can’t know what comfort and blessing he gives to those he visits, unless we experience it first hand

Barry is really good at what is called occasional services, that is Baptisms, Weddings (and renewal of vows) and Funerals. At Baptisms he generates a feeling of fun, with his gentle bullying he gets children, who probably do want to do what he suggests, and adults, who probably initially don’t want to do what he suggests, but are glad they did, to do extraordinary things. All this communicates love, God’s love.

It was good that Barry married my daughter Debbie and now son-in-law John. His subtle mixture of informality and formality made it an occasion to remember, and, again, God’s love was, as ever, on display.

Barry takes very great care when planning funerals. In so far as he is able he finds out about the deceased, and all the grieving family. Thus to some extent wounds are healed, and people have a safe place to feel, and sometimes express, grief. They become better equipped to deal with the grief which  will follow. And the declaration of Christian belief that death is not the end is made explicit.

So we are saying goodbye to someone of considerable skill, and genuine love, which I feel will continue to be deployed in the service of bringing people closer to knowing God’s love.

We wish Barry a happy, joyful and fulfilling retirement. . .

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