A popular vicar is about to say a sad farewell the church where he was a choirboy during his school years and has been leading the congregation in worship for almost a decade.
The Rev James Reveley admits that leaving Boxmoor this week after nine years at the helm is going to be a wrench.
He will return for a special farewell service on Sunday, April 14, when the congregations from the three churches in his parish – Boxmoor’s St John’s, St Stephen’s in Long Chaulden and St Francis in Hammerfield – will come together.
Mr Reveley said: “I’m going because nine years is a good stretch and I’m going to step aside to let someone else have fun here.”
During his time at the church, he has overseen around 300 weddings, seen baptisms and helped families say goodbye to loved ones at funerals.
The 43-year-old vicar said: “One of the privileges of being a member of clergy is you really get deep roots with members of the parish and you share the highs and low of their lives.
“It is very difficult to leave but I knew the longer I left it the harder it would be. It does feel like a wrench.
“I was here as a boy. I grew up in Boxmoor and St John’s was my church – I sang in the choir – so this is the second time that I’m leaving.
“It has been my parish church for two thirds of my life. It has been a really important place for me. I will always remember the church and the community of Boxmoor with deep affection.”
Mr Reveley left Boxmmor as a teenager after completing sixth form at Hemel Hempstead. He went on to study a degree in music, before embarking on a degree in theology.
He joined the church because of a sense of calling. He described it as “a warming to the idea that never went cold and I love it. It is the best job in the world.
“In the time I have been here I have met thousands of people so I have really enjoyed it.”
During his time at St John’s, Mr Reveley, a father of two, has overseen the restoration of the church after an arson attack in 2009 and the installation of a £400,000 organ, for which fundraising work is still continuing although it is on track to hit the repayments on time.
Mr Reveley said: “I think the parish is in good heart. There is certainly a wonderful group of people here and we have all been extremely happy these last nine years.”
He is moving to a new role at St Andrew’s Church in Bedford with wife Joanna and daughters Miriam, nine, and Hannah, seven.
His replacement has not yet been appointed. “In the meantime we have some clergy who are holding the fort,” said Mr Reveley. “Other ministers from the team are taking the services.”