Welcome Derek & Judith Oldham

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Derek Oldham

"Well, first of all, it's wonderful to be back in the Lancashire District of the Methodist Church, and especially good to be living and serving in and around the southern area of the North Lancashire Circuit.

Many years ago, Judith's parents had a static caravan in Garstang and we spent happy times as a young family exploring the surrounding area. My wife Judith and I, are living in the knowledge that our accents can be easily understood in North Lancashire, as we've had so much fun taken out of us for not speaking "posh Cheshire" for the last 5 years!

Judith and I were both born in Bolton and have known each other most of our lives; Judith's dad was the Captain of the Boys' Brigade Company I joined at the age of 7. We started courting when I was 16 and Judith 15, married in 1981 and went on to have four children, three girls, Claire, Rebecca and Rachel and one boy, Adam.

All our daughters are now married and have children of their own, blessing us with two grandsons and four granddaughters, our son is single.

After leaving school at 17, I found work at Royal Mail, on the clerical side of the business, starting as a Counter Clerk and working my way up to Customer Service Manager before eventually leaving after 28 years' service to enter Theological College in Manchester and training as a Presbyter in the Methodist Church.

I started Circuit Ministry in what was the South Ribble Circuit where I served from 2005 to 2010; then was "stationed" in the Pendle Circuit from 2010 to 2014, then it was off to the Dane and Trent Circuit (Congleton), in the Chester and Stoke District until now. Throughout these years I have held various District roles including...Probationers and Under 5's Secretary, Synod Secretary and latterly Candidates Secretary.

Meanwhile, and in our younger days, Judith was busy looking after our family and switching between jobs as the children were born and grew, before settling into the role of Special Needs Co-ordinator at a Primary School in Bolton. It was whilst working here, that she had her accident at home, causing her to need to a wheelchair and walking aids to get around. The nature of her injury and pain management medication means she is unable to attend evening worship or functions.

Whilst Judith has been a lifelong Methodist, my church life began at the local Congregational Church in Bolton, only moving to the Methodist Church as that's where the Boys' Brigade met; plus, they had a much bigger and better Sunday School.

Our "home" church was Chorley Old Road Methodist, now ceased worship and joined with other Methodist Churches in the area to form The Triangle Methodist Church.

We also have a strong link with New Covenant United Methodist Church in The Villages, Florida, where we undertook a 6-week exchange of pastorates back in 2009, but more recently and in 2016, we spent a further 4 weeks there studying how their work in the field of helping people living with dementia and their carers, has progressed over the last few years.

For hobbies, Judith likes to knit and crochet, and I like to ride my bicycle and swim when time allows; and we (especially I) love our holidays, preferably in the hot sun.

Over the coming weeks and months, both Judith and I hope to get to know and make new friends both in the churches and community, and have the opportunity of sharing God's love with all people, as we seek to continue to serve Him in our new home and Circuit.

Our family motto is... "the door is always open and the kettle is always on", so if you're in the area, do pop in, you will find a warm welcome.

May God bless you all.

Revd Derek and Judith Oldham"

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