Rector has plans for new life after he leaves church
The Rev Christopher Hare, the rector at Timsbury and Priston since 2001 and the Rural Dean of the Midsomer Norton Deanery, has announced that he will be retiring in May 2012.
Rev Hare, who moved to Timsbury after a period as non-stipendary priest in Saltford, said it was a very difficult decision to make because from day one the family had been welcomed with open arms by residents in both the village and neighbouring Priston.
He said: "It has been a privilege to have been part of so many people's lives and I hope that I have helped them through times of both joy and sorrow.
"I have been delighted to walk with people on their journey of faith and I have been greatly encouraged by the growth of the family service and the creation of two Bible study groups."
Rev Hare said that he had been heartened by the way all the churches in Timsbury had worked together and had been pleased with the development of the Sunday cafe and the Thursday morning coffee shop which had brought villagers together.
One of his great pleasures, he added, had been the regular visits to St Mary's Primary School where he served as a governor.
He and his wife Miriam, who is a lay reader, have raised more than £8,000 for the two churches and the Dorothy House hospice with walks along the Avon and Kennet Canal and Hadrian's Wall. Rev Hare has also led pilgrimages to Iona, Oberammergau and Holy Island.
Mrs Hare is shortly retiring from her job at Dorothy House and the couple are looking forward to pursuing their many interests at their new home in Frome.
They both enjoy the theatre and walking, and Rev Hare is an ardent sports fan following Luton Town and Somerset County Cricket Club as well as Timsbury Cricket Club, of whom he is a vice-president.
Rev Hare said: "I would like to thank the wonderful church wardens and lay readers for all the help they have given me and particularly Miriam for all her backing.
"We thank Timsbury and Priston for being part of our lives and know that they will support my successor in the same way."