Farewell from Andy Bagwell

This morning I woke early at 6am to attend my weekly Tuesday morning spinning class. Spinning is ‘instructor led group cycling’ accompanied by high energy dance music and this has formed a regular (and sometimes sporadic) part of my fitness routine over the past 5 years. Whilst I pedalled away this morning I found myself thinking of a Sunday talk I gave at St. Saviour’s in 2014, during which I was accompanied by the wonderful visual aid of Emma Laporte completing a spinning class on stage for the duration of the entire talk. Besides the entertainment value of my assistant gradually becoming more tired as I went on (and on!), I issued the challenge at this talk for us all to look after ourselves, regularly filling up our physical, emotional and spiritual buckets. These reserves are important in life.

This week is my last on the staff team at St. Saviour’s after nearly 7 years being in post. Melanie, the boys and I are greatly looking forward to remaining in the church family having established St. Saviour’s as our home, and the members here as our family. However, the completion of my employed role here and the transition to my new role at UCAN, feels like moving from one stage of a spinning class to another. I get to look back at some of the mileage covered, rest and take on water and look ahead to what the instructor would have me do next.

God often speaks to me during spinning classes, in fact hearing from him is the best thing about being there. With this in mind I’ll share three challenges I was prompted with this morning:

  • Watch your pace. There’s no point completely tiring yourself out after 24 minutes and 8 miles covered, if you’re doing a 40 minute class, aiming for a total distance of 13 miles
  • Take your opportunities for rest. They’re a valuable (and biblically prescribed) part of the experience, and without them you won’t cover the greater distance
  • Embrace the fact that some stages will be slow and hard climbs, others will be frenetic sprints and others will be free-wheeling. This will be a richer experience than just sticking to your 20mph average spinning speed in middle gear. As my spinning instructor says, “if you aim for averages, you aim to fail”.

I’m going to try and remember these challenges as I start my new role as Executive Director of the UK Church Administrators Network, helping resource and support people serving in administrative roles across the UK church, and I would appreciate your prayers in this. Thank you so much for the privilege of being Director of Operations here since 2012. It’s been a great role to have with so many highs to praise God for and the joy of sharing in the lows with a loving and supportive church family. In the midst of all of this our two sons have been born (one during the Love Guildford weekend), we embarked upon a day-long scavenger hunt around London with the Wayfs and I completed the ice-bucket challenge on the steps of the church centre.

I look forward to seeing many of you on Sundays and the 10.30am will be our home service. But if you find yourself thinking about asking me a Director of Operations related question, be warned – I’ve been working out and I will punch you!


Love Andy

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