Sixty years of dedicated ministry in the UK and overseas, much of it in a remote and often lawless area of Kenya, have come to an end for the Ashover-based Assistant Bishop of Derby, the Right Revd. Bob Beak.
The Bishop of Derby, the Right Revd. Dr Alastair Redfern, described the long and dedicated service by Bishop Bob and his wife, Peggy, as “inspiring, humbling and mind-blowing” when he led a special thanksgiving service at All Saints. “They have been great ambassadors for Christ and I am proud to have been associated with them,” he told the congregation.
There was a special surprise for 88-year-old Bob and Peggy (87), during the service when young members of All Saints Allsorts and Young Rockers groups presented them with a picture of a lighted candle whose glow was created by cutouts of the children’s hands.
Anna Bell led the team that produced the picture which was designed to show the light Bishop Bob and Peggy’s ministry had brought to the areas in which they had served, particularly in Marsabit, Northern Kenya.
“It is a delightful gift and one we shall always treasure,” said Bishop Bob.
The service saw the congregation singing a hymn specially composed for the occasion by Kelstedge wordsmith Marion Bingham.
Called ‘Gathered in Celebration’, it is sung to the tune of the classic song of praise ‘Morning has broken’ and is the fifth hymn Marion has written for village events.
The Rector of Ashover, the Revd. Ralph Lawrence, also paid tribute to Bob and Peggy. “It has been a joy having them worshipping and working among us. We have all gained so much from their ministry,” he said.
Church members have been delighted to learn that Bob and Peggy may not have hung up their ecclesiastical robes for good.
Bob has told them: “We are stepping back from regular church duties but have offered to stay as first reserves for the ministry team.”