THE community paid a fond farewell to the Reverend Aaron Jackman as he leaves for Scotland with his family on his next ‘adventure’.
Rev Jackman leaves Holy Trinity Church, Dobcross and the Beneﬁce of Saddleworth in early October after four years here to take up a post as Priest-in-charge of St Peter’s Episcopal Church, Musselburgh (near Edinburgh).
He led his last service at Holy Trinity on Sunday, September 26 before farewell gatherings accompanied by his wife Gemma and children Hope and Abraham at The Swan Inn, Dobcross and the Parish Centre in Uppermill.
He told the Independent: “Life is an adventure and you have to take it with both hands. We’re looking forward to this new adventure but we are gutted that we have to move away from Saddleworth.
“We have made this our home for four years – that’s the longest we have been anywhere as a family and we’ve come to call Dobcross our home.
“The people have taught me how to be a vicar and helped me as much as I have helped them – it works both ways.
“One of my callings and my privileges is to give God’s blessings to the community. But just because I have a dog collar on doesn’t mean I am special or better than anyone else.
“I hope I have been able to empower the community to look after each other. I am encouraged that as I leave, people will take on that baton.
“It was great to see everyone to say goodbye, even some people I didn’t even know. I am overwhelmed and am really grateful for everyone’s support.
“Musselburgh is a lovely neck of the woods and we’ll be near to Gemma’s parents who live in Fife and I always promised her we would see Scotland.
“Countless memories will remain with us and give us comfort as we adjust to a new life.
“Rest assured you’ll be in my prayers, and I look forward to returning as often as I can.”
Reflecting on highlights of his time here, Rev Jackman admitted there are just too many to count.
But he added: “One of the biggest is leading the remembrance service at Pots and Pans. Just to see thousands of people there and to lead them in the Act of Remembrance was incredible.”
He also recalled the time he took the knee outside Dobcross Vicarage and was supported by members of the community to show solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement.
And he said Whit Fridays are ‘very special’ in bringing together the villages so everyone can take part in the celebrations.
Rev Jackman was presented with a large card signed by the community and an engraved holy communion box. His wife Gemma was presented with a rose bush.
Addressing Aaron at his leaving event at the Parish Centre, Rev Canon Sharon Jones said: “On behalf of the team I say a huge thank you to you and your family for all that you have brought to us in Saddleworth.
“It has been a joy and a privilege to work with you. I have had many curates over the years but none have been like you.
“You have taught us so much as a team about the importance of family and relationships. You have made us look with humility at race and other things that we might otherwise have been ignorant of.
“You have shed a great light on us and we are very grateful.
“We wish you a great time in Scotland, taking our love and support and remember us as we will remember you.”