AFTER 30 years of priestly ministry, and at 62 years of age,
Canon Timothy Lipscomb was entitled to think about cutting down on
some of his duties
But the decision to stop being Area Dean after 16 years came
about in a more dramatic fashion than he was expecting - midway
through his sermon at St John's Minster, Preston.
"I was in the middle of my sermon when I heard this voice in my
head saying: 'You must give up being Area Dean.' And it kept being
repeated, over and over - so much so, I wondered how I was going to
get through the rest of my sermon" Canon Lipscomb, who is Rector of
"After the service, I phoned the Bishop and said: 'You won't
believe what's happened.' We come from very different traditions -
I am an Anglo Catholic, and he is a Conservative Evangelical - but
he listened, and, apart from saying it left him with a bit of a
headache, he did understand.
"I'm not the sort of person to whom this happens. But it felt as
it did when I was ordained, and I had fought that for a long time.
I said to the Bishop: I have to give up, God wants me to, and I
have to be obedient to God.
"I think God was telling me, you've done enough, chum. It is not
what I was expecting, but I believe God is a God of surprises."
Canon Lipscomb handed over the reins to the Revd Brian McConkey,
Vicar of Christ Church, Fulwood, Lancashire, last week.
Canon Lipscomb is to continue as the Rector of Preston.