IT was with a tear in his eye that Holy Trinity priest Frank Hetherington announced his intention to retire next year and move away from his daily responsibilities at the church.
Earlier this month he told his congregation he would step down from his role as the church’s rector on April 30 however he would continue as the diocesan archdeacon.
Archdeacon Hetherington said he felt he was getting near that “magical age” of retirement and after overseeing the church’s Easter services next year he would like to reduce his workload particularly as he approaches his 65th birthday on December 3.
Despite having decided to retire, archdeacon admits losing daily contact with his parishioners will be hard.
“I’ve been very privileged to work amongst people who are good people,” he said.
“I’m terrified about it in one way and excited in another, but I will miss my people.”
Archdeacon Hetherington was ordained in 1974 and has spent his career in the ministry in the diocese of Bathurst working in Bathurst, Blayney, Coonamble, Narromine, Parkes and Orange.
In a letter to parishioners Archdeacon Hetherington said he had “tried to fulfil the vocations of deacon and priest faithfully and well, under God”.
“There is much to be done in our parish over the next six months in establishing plans for the future,” he said.
“I ask you to continue to give strong support to all involved in parish leadership as plans are made for the future, as well as for the transition that will be involved in the appointment of a new parish priest.”
As part of his continuing role as diocesan archdeacon, Bishop Ian Palmer has asked him and to take up a mentoring role for clergy so he will undertake a graduate certificate in pastoral supervision next year.
In the lead up to his retirement Archdeacon Hetherington said he and his wife Marilyn plan to build a house near the botanical gardens.
“Marilyn’s mother, my father and two of our three children live in this city. We feel an obligation to be near them.”
The process of selecting a new priest lies with the bishop and the clergy appointments board.