As I come to the end of five fascinating years as the manager of Epworth Old Rectory, there is a lot to reflect on.
I feel very fortunate to have had this opportunity to help develop, interpret, research and communicate stories of the Wesley family and the Methodist church to an audience which stretches around the world.
I have enjoyed being given freedom to think up exhibitions and schemes such as our schools’ programme, and to make them happen.
A high point was our 2012 special exhibition on the world-wide Methodist family which included very moving interviews with five people who had grown up in very different parts of the world.
The development work has been at times frustrating. I am overjoyed we have reached the end of phase 1 and are half way through phase 2. On Wesley Day May 24 we lit fires in the newly restored fireplaces and the house was transformed.
I realised we were experiencing the house as the Wesleys must have done. Finding the concealed shoe in the course of that work was a very exciting bonus!
It will be the people I remember most.
The group from Epworth Village Methodist Church, Hong Kong celebrating a 50th anniversary, the Methodist Nigerian Bishops who responded to the Old Rectory as if it were holy ground, the individual who recognised their family history in dedications in a bible here, and American teenagers whose musical performance in aid of the Old Rectory moved us to tears.
I have never worked with more committed people than our volunteers, staff and trustees. They work in a huge range of roles and give hours. They have produced dramatic special events, and gone not the second mile to help people but also the third and fourth.
They have supported and challenged me, given of their skills and maintained a wonderful sense of humour through it all. I am heading off to Guildford to be the minister of two Methodist churches.
Thank you to the Bells and all your readers for your consistent interest and support. The Rev Dr Claire Potter.