The Rev Philip Ireson, who came to Pitsmoor in 2011 after 10 years as a prison chaplain in Doncaster, recently retired as vicar of Christ Church.
Philip told the Messenger “Coming back into parish life at Christ Church for the last 5 years of my ministry was a big change, but I wanted to have the experience of life in a parish once again before I retired. Pitsmoor is a very diverse parish culturally and Christ Church has sought to be a ‘Church for All nations’.”
Francesca from Nigeria writes: “Philip is a humble vicar, full of sincere love and care for all. Like a loving father, he was never too busy to listen, encourage and help. He notices when one is stressed, sick, worried or unhappy and will come up to you to talk, encourage and help in any way he can. He created a group called ‘Future Light’ for those of us from various countries with English as a second language, meeting once a month in the vicarage to study the Bible and pray for ourselves, the church and the community. He also arranged visits to places of interest. We will miss him and his lovely wife, Frances, and pray for God’s blessing on them and their children and grandchildren.”
Ler Bwe Wai of the Karen people from Myanmar (formerly Burma) writes: “We met our vicar and Frances 5 years ago. He has been kind and caring and helped us second language speakers. He organised and encouraged us, and sometimes arranged trips to places we had never been to before like the Peak District. We also thank Frances who taught our children how to grow up as Christians with kindness and discipline; I learned a lot from her.”
Margaret, a Lunch Club volunteer says: “Philip has been wonderful as a vicar. He has helped me through tough times and listens to people. He has done a lot for the church and for charities.”
Ethel writes, “Philip was a good listener, giving support to myself and my family and kept in touch when I was ill in hospital”.
Philip played a key role in setting up the Northern Lights Partnership which includes Christ Church, St Cuthbert’s and St Peter’s, enabling these churches to share resources and co-operate in doing things together which they couldn’t have done separately. Children enjoyed his visits to Pye Bank School. He volunteered in the homeless and asylum seekers’ night shelter and was active citywide as a Street Pastor.
Philip’s wide-ranging involvement with local residents in the area means that he will be greatly missed across the community. We wish him and Frances every blessing in their well-earned retirement.