Farewell Clive and Glenda


On Sunday 25 February 2018 after the service, Holy Name bid farewell to Clive and Glenda.  Graham B read a message from Bp Paul as:-

“On behalf of the Diocese of Melbourne, I want publicly to thank God for Clive’s faithful, stimulating and enriching ministry at Holy Name over recent years.

It was a pleasure to reconnect with Clive when I began as Bishop, since we overlapped at college together over 30 years ago.

From what I have seen, Clive has encouraged you, stimulated your Christian thinking and discipleship, cared for and loved you. So thanks be to God for him and his ministry and Clive, my prayers and best wishes for you and Glenda in retirement.”

  • Bp Paul Barker

This was then followed by speeches by Melva A, Jill A and Odette K as follows:-

“I’ve been reflecting on when Jill, Martin, and I were on the incumbency committee that selected Clive as our priest. We didn’t have a lot to go on – his C.V. (that read well), Bishop Barbara’s advice (she knew him at Ridley) and a very poor quality tape of one of Clive’s sermon’s (he didn’t write sermons – as we all know now).

But when we met him we knew without a doubt he was for us.

What we were to discover though was that Clive is much more than what he appeared to be then. If you haven’t grown in your understanding of scripture, if your faith hasn’t deepened over these past 5 years, if you haven’t become more aware of the value of music in worship, if you haven’t witnessed how to live as a Christian in times of grief, sickness and surgery you must have been asleep –  Not Martin though! He has special dispensations!

 When Clive arrived I think we were all rather exhausted from the busy ness of Phillip, but Clive introduced an atmosphere of calm, order, and a refocus of learning from scripture, praying, reflection and targeted action. We were all able to take a deep breath and relax a bit.

As Pastoral Assistant I’ve followed Clive around a bit like a sheep I guess, to nearly all the various services and events, so I have had many opportunities to work with Clive in different settings.

Clive’s greatest gifts are preaching and teaching. I’ve never tired of listening to him preach on the same piece of scripture even if it’s the 3rd or sometimes 4th time but nearly always with a slightly different emphasis. Wednesday’s sermons were often about what he didn’t get time to say on Sundays.

Clive has encouraged us to look further afield, to taste the works of great theologians such as Richard Rohr, Tom Wright, Rowan Williams Rene Gerard, Timothy Radcliffe, introduce us to a variety of books and resources, to stretch our minds, challenging us to look broader, deeper, carefully and to look at scripture through story. Never dogmatic! I have detected a sense of urgency in recent weeks as Clive has tried desperately to cement some of these things into our brains before he leaves. It must feel a bit like Jesus leaving his disciples before they fully understood what it was all about.  But be assured Clive, we will keep working at it!

Congratulations to any of you who answered his questions correctly by the way!  

To attend his Lenten Studies has been a true privilege, wonderful broad ranging, engaging, in depth discussions on the texts. We will miss these sessions so much.

Those liturgies Clive has developed for café church services have also helped us look with fresh eyes into the mystery of our faith.

Clive has also been most appreciated by the worshippers at our aged care services. He has been able to bring a Christian message that is relevant and meaningful to them. Music has always been a welcomed inclusion at these services and it is wonderful to see how music can recall long remembered words from their past even when much else has gone.

I’d also like to thank you Clive, on behalf of all those who have had the comfort of your pastoral home visits. These visits spread from Croydon to Dandenong and they have always been appreciated.

Clive’s love of music has greatly enhanced our ability to provide Christmas concerts to aged care centres. His musical talent opened opportunities for us to broaden our repertoire to do more secular music for our Winter Warmers concerts at the shopping centre. That wonderful singing voice of his gives a strong lead to any performance and any service – including our Cup Day lunches.

The singing group members will greatly miss him. He has supported us so much in his time with us. He has made us much more aware of the works of Bell (his hymns and psalm responses), Kendrick, Bullock, Cockburn, Mc Clean, Wren, Dylan, and Cohen and to draw our attention to the message of the words and the value and interplay of words and music.

Those of us who have participated in the Group Encounters and Quiet Days have also been very privileged to have, with Glenda’s input, his prayers and his direction to various publications and activities that have been so meaningful and inspiring.

Finally, I have done a bit of a survey about what personal qualities people have valued about Clive. These include that Clive is friendly, compassionate, approachable about any question, a good listener, respectful, unflappable (at least on the outside), honest about himself, humble, patient, sincere, dedicated, organised, apart from his office! (We don’t see the mountain of the paperwork required to run a small parish these days), a sense of humour (sometimes rather mischievous!), a willing participant for the many social and fund raising parish activities.

Clive, as you leave us and move gently (we hope) into retirement, we pray you and Glenda every good blessing. We wish you happiness in your new home and wonderful times with your growing family. We wish you time to discover new ways of living, new explorations and interests and time to expand those interests you already have. We wish you rest and good health. Fortunate are those parishes that will score you as their locum. They won’t want to lose you either. You leave us as our priest and on – going friend, with our grateful thanks and love, for all you have been to us, for all you have done for us.

We thank you.”

  • Melva A on Clive’s contribution to ministry and music with us

“What a privilege it has been to be Vicar’s Warden at Holy Name. My tenure finished in November 2016, although I continued another year as People’s Warden.

Late in 2012 I was asked to consider being part of Parish Council at Holy Name, while Archdeacon Philip Newman was leading the Parish out of the wilderness following the death of Father Lawrence Turnbull. Before I knew it, I had been invited to be Vicar’s Warden with Archdeacon Philip……….or was that press-ganged!!

As far as I can tell there isn’t a Job Description for Vicar’s Warden…….a few general sentences in a Diocesan manual somewhere……which I did read!

In my professional working life (admittedly some years ago) I came from a management position where Job Descriptions and Key Performance Indicators were paramount………so what did a Vicar’s Warden do exactly? I’m still not sure, but I think I managed to fudge it Clive?…… Yes?  Maybe?

It was Easter in 2013 when Holy Name welcomed Clive……and Glenda…….Team Watkins!! Were we blessed? Indeed we were.

I had met Clive at a fairly informal interview with other Incumbency Committee members, after the late Bishop Barbara Darling had assisted Holy Name with the discernment process of selecting a Parish Priest.

But I have a better recollection of my second meeting on a really hot summer evening at my home with other members of the Incumbency Committee and their spouses. Clive and Glenda sat around the table with us enjoying a meal discussing Holy Name and the possibility of a future together. It was so hot …. You know how hot it can get in Melbourne? …….and coming from hot steamy Sydney I thought he would appreciate the air-conditioning so had it set on reasonably cold.

It wasn’t until after Clive was appointed and autumn and winter set in, that I learned how much Clive felt the cold……oh dear, not such a good beginning!

I think generally, we, the Incumbency Committee at the time, agreed Clive was going to be the right “fit” for Holy Name, and I remember Glenda wanting assurance that we really wanted Clive as our Parish Priest. Melva and I were convinced when we learned of his musical interests.

But at Holy Name the questions were asked…..A priest from Sydney?………ah, but trained at Ridley College in Melbourne.

And still the concern….…But a priest from Sydney?……..yes, but St George’s Paddington, where Clive had come from, had on its website a statement about supporting the ordination of women……..he can’t be typically “Sydney”. And our advocate and supporter, Bishop Barbara Darling had recommended Clive…….so……a leap of faith!

Clive told us early on, that he was a bit of an introvert…………..well he’s the most extroverted introvert I think I have been blessed to know!

After Archdeacon Philip finished, Clive invited me to continue as Vicar’s Warden.

Early days I had a couple of uncomfortable/difficult conversations with Clive…….

because some of YOU had a couple of uncomfortable conversations with me as Vicar’s Warden. But lots of us need time to embrace change, as we will have to do again now, and once the Parish (and Clive) had embraced that change, it became obvious that Clive was a wonderful priest and pastor.

It wasn’t hard to work with Clive. Often I would come to Holy Name through the week and find Clive tinkering away on some engineering feat to ensure all systems were go for Sunday services; or practising songs with his guitar.

I have been privileged and honoured that Clive invited me to be Vicar’s Warden for three terms; serving three and half years with you, Clive. I give thanks for your care of us, for your generosity of spirit, for your teaching of scripture, for your quirky sense of humour, and for your love of music, all of which you shared so generously with us.

You introduced me to the songs of John Bell, some Graham Kendrick, a bit more John Bell, and your favourite Bruce Cockburn, even a couple of Leonard Cohen songs …. And did I mention John Bell? I absolutely loved the music, and how it enhanced and enriched worship.

God is good that your journey brought you to Melbourne, to Holy Name.

I have been richly blessed. We have been richly blessed.

The Lord be with you, Clive, and with Glenda in whatever comes next for you both.

I have been given the honour of presenting the Parish gift to you Clive, and although only your name might be on it, remember it is for “Team Watkins”.”

  • Jill A on reflection of Clive

“We all know and have heard from others how great Clive is, but we equally know that behind every great, successful man there is a wonderful woman.

Glenda, when you and Clive arrived five years ago, it was like a breath of fresh air! It was something that we, as a parish, very much needed at the time. Thank you to our incumbency committee for an excellent choice.

It didn’t take long Glenda for you to put your name down on every conceivable roster: Sunday school, messy church, reading, morning tea, catering and tireless effort with car boot sales and fetes. All this in addition to working part-time and looking after Clive full-time! You are the epitome of what a vicar’s wife should be. It was also pleasing that both of you attended all worship and social functions organized by the parish, and participated in every possible way. That also includes being members of the choir and holy rollers.

Glenda, your gentle demeanour and genuine concern endeared you to each and every one of us. We shall remain forever grateful to you for all you brought and did to assist Clive in his ministry to us. You are not only the vicar’s wife but our friend and confidant. You are a quiet achiever, highly approachable; a wonderful listener and never afraid to share your feelings.

For all of that and much, much more you, Clive and your beautiful family will be hugely missed.

Thank you for being you.”

  • Odette K on Glenda’s contribution to the Parish


All of above can be summed up in what Norm wrote in his editorial in the current issue of Grapevine:

“Clive, together with Glenda, have been all that we could hope for in their roles as they have shepherded us as a caring , loving parish with a vision into the future in Vermont South. We wish him and Glenda all the best in his retirement.”

  • Norm A

The speeches were moving and they brought tears to many of us and at the same time smile on our faces.  Presents and gifts were then presented and we could hear applause and laughter throughout.  A group photo was taken at the entrance of the Church and lunch was soon followed.  It was truly a day to remember.