A Fylde minister retires this weekend after more than two decades in the job.
Rev David Phillips arrived at Fairhaven United Reformed Church, better known as the White Church, from Manchester in 1996 and will bid farewell at a special service to be held on Sunday from 2pm, at which everyone is welcome.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to serve the White Church for these last 21 years
The 60-year-old plans to stay in Fylde as he enjoys his retirement – and says he will look back on his time at Fairhaven with fond memories.
“I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to serve the White Church for these last 21 years,” he said.
“It’s unusual for a minister to be in one place for so long and truth to tell, I just don’t know where the years have gone – but they do say that time flies when you are enjoying yourself.
“I have made many friends and have no intention of returning to the noise and clamour of city life.
“I’m sure I will see many familiar faces in the queue at the local supermarkets and there will be one notable one difference from Monday – you don’t have to hide behind the beans for fear of being asked: ‘Why weren’t you in church last Sunday?’”
David was born in Birkenhead, the eldest of six children and the pressing need to find room for his younger siblings in the family home led to him leaving home to find employment at just 16.
After a spell in the printing industry, he started training as a United Reformed Church minister and after ordination at 28, spent many years working in the South Manchester area before succeeding Rev Brian Baker at the White Church.
Long-time parishioner and choir member John Cooper said: “David’s charm and charisma were evident from the start and he has always been a very fine preacher. His contribution to the life of the White Church has been immense.”
Until a replacement is appointed, services at the White Church will be conducted by lay preachers.