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1975-1985: David Boyes - a time of consolidation and adjustment

David was a very different leader to Ron Hargreaves, being much less of a charismatic type of personality, but his ministry was to take the church forward in a number of important ways. 

During his time here he had to face a large number of frustrating problems. However, in spite of such struggles, David faithfully persevered and so left much fruit from a ministry that was deeply appreciated by many people.

What perhaps he gave above all was a deep pastoral care, particularly to the many wounded people in the congregation, and so he built into the life of the church an ability to love people in all their human fragility, and an ability to cope with great upsets and hurts. 

He worked hard too to develop a growing sense of being a Christian community, and he continued the process of moving the church forward into more modern patterns of worship, with a fuller recognition of the role of lay people in worship.

This was, however, a period when church-going was in general decline, aggravated here because a number of key people in St Barnabas moved away during this period. Certainly the numbers attending services dropped during Davidís first years to something closer to the numbers we have today.

There were also problems within the congregation which David worked at tackling, but which he also at times found very dispiriting - for example, in the November 1981 LINK magazine he wrote of the sickness of individualism and the need to be more united in thought and action, but "the discipline of obedience necessary for such action has proved too costly for many and as a result we limp forward only slowly. ... Despair threatens to defeat me - but that would be disastrous."

In 1979, the PCC discussed the possibility of women helping to administer communion, but it was felt this would be "controversial". It was only accepted in 1981, and even in 1983 some people were said to be opposed. Today it seems so normal that it is hard to imagine why it should have been such an issue only a few years ago.

On Easter Day, 1985, David Boyes left to become Vicar of Earl Soham and two other villages. He said "Iíve seen St Barnabas become more trusting, more free and flexible and more ready to accept responsibility for the work God has called us to do." But he also spoke of the problem of those who held back from involvement with the church or with God.

A long interregnum then followed until George Day's arrival in March 1986.

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