Fond farewell as leaders retire for third time
published on 7 Jul 2021
The Salvation Army in Chatteris has said a fond farewell to its leaders who are retiring for the third time.
Members of the church attended a special service at The Salvation Army Fortress on East Park Street to say goodbye to Majors Richard and Pauline Cook, who have been in the role for two years.
Richard said the event was emotional and church members showed their appreciation with a personal gift.
The appointment was the couple’s third since they retired. Pauline stepped down from The Salvation Army in Lewisham in 2008 and moved with her husband to The Salvation Army in Rothwell, Northamptonshire, where she supported Richard until his official retirement in 2012.
However, they continued for a further four years at Rothwell to see through a relocation of the church to the High Street. They retired from Rothwell in 2016.
After a two-year break, they approached the Divisional Commander, Martin Hill and they were appointed to the Chatteris Corps. One of their first tasks was to refurbish the old kitchen, toilets and oversee interior redecoration.
In the first nine months they worked three days a week, taking responsibility for the leadership of Sunday Worship; carrying out administrative and pastoral care; attending the Luncheon Club and carrying out other duties. This involved travelling to Chatteris three times a week, a round trip of more than 80 miles.
During lockdown they continued to serve the corps from home, producing a fortnightly worship sheet for those who would normally attend church, and a newsletter for members of the lunch club and the wider community. They also provided pastoral care.
The couple paid tribute to their son Jonathan who has managed the Facebook page and website for the church for the last two years, resulting in many significant donations, financially and materially.
Richard said that he and his wife are looking forward to having a little more time for themselves, but stressed that as a pastor you never really retire. They haven’t ruled out answering God’s call again.
Richard said: “If the call came, we’d lay it before the Lord. It’s been an honour to serve people at Chatteris and we are praying God provides new leadership at some point.”