On Sunday, Anglicans in Heavitree broke with tradition and, instead of huddling on the back row at church, spread out for a physically-distanced Mass and to say farewell to Fr Robin Eastoe who retires this month after nearly twelve years as Rector of Heavitree.
After over three months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Christians returned to public worship this weekend, albeit it with proper precautions in place for people’s safety. Church members from St Michael’s, St Paul’s, St Lawrence’s and St Mary Steps gathered together to worship and to celebrate the ministry of Fr Robin.
Fr Robin arrived in Heavitree in September 2008 having previously served at St Mary’s, Ilford, St Saviour’s, Walthamstow, St Francis, Barkingside, and St Margaret’s, Leigh-on-Sea. He was ordained deacon in 1978 and, last year, celebrated the fortieth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in 1979. During that time many things have changed, not least the recent exploration of online worship, but one thing that has not changed is the pastoral care and ministry Fr Robin has exercised among the people entrusted to him.
Very late in Fr Robin’s ministry he has become an internet sensation, reaching out around the world, preaching the Gospel to many nations. This parish owes Fr Robin an incalculable debt of gratitude. We wish him and his family well in his retirement.Julia Forward, Churchwarden
Thank you Father Robin, thank you Helen. We get to say on behalf of all those you have served since being ordained a deacon, thank you, may God bless your future very richly indeed.The Right Reverend Jonathan Goodall, Bishop of Ebbsfleet
Fr Robin isn’t going far! He will be staying in Exeter, and will no doubt enjoy spending time with his family and keeping up with the football.