The following is the text of an article written by Knutsford Guardian Senior Reporter Ian Ross :
“REVEREND Rob Cotton is to say farewell to his congregation next month before heading off for pastures new.
Rev Cotton has been at Knutsford Methodist Church for eight years, and is leaving at the end of July to take up a new role in Wakefield, Yorkshire.
He will be saying farewell with a service to be broadcast on Sunday, July 26, on the church’s website, kmc.org.uk, before starting his new role as a Methodist Minister in Sandal in September.
Rev Cotton is the superintendent of the Alderley Edge and Knutsford circuit, a group of eight churches, and lives in Knutsford with his wife Carol, who is the church and community pastoral worker at KMC.
He said: “There is a whole mixture of emotions – we are particularly sad to be leaving people at this time, when people are going through a really challenging period. We get a number of older church members who are really quite anxious about the fact that we are moving now, because they won’t know the new Minister.
“On a personal level it’s probably the most challenging move I have ever had because you want to be there for people and you want to pastorally support them. These are people with whom I’ve shared the whole gamut of key experiences – weddings, baptisms, funerals.
“We’ve had some amazing experiences of worship, such as Pam Rhodes from Songs of Praise coming to lead worship, hilarious evenings with the likes of Bobby Ball and joyful experiences with people who have flown in from America like Shane Rootes.
“In the last few weeks we have launched an audio magazine for people whose eyesight is a challenge for them, and in these last few weeks I’m still going to be exploring how we as individuals and as a church can be creative and respond to people’s needs.
“I have been the Mayor’s chaplain for four out of the eight years, which has been a real privilege for me to serve the community, and we have really enjoyed our time in Knutsford. It’s been challenging, we’ve got some great people to work with, and KMC is a great church.”
Rev Cotton has also been the minister at Plumley, and his successor is to be Rev Alan Bradley, who is to start in September, accompanied by his wife Carol.