Few priests have the opportunity to serve in and retire from the same church they were ordained in, so for the Rev June Rowland her time as a priest has been a “very, very, very special” one.
Seven years ago, the Rev Rowland was ordained by Bishop of Grantham Tim Ellis, his first ordination. Having now retired from her post of assistant priest at Grantham’s largest church, the Rev Rowland will look fondly back at those years.
She said: “St Wulfram’s is a very special place.
“It’s very sad to leave it behind. Although I’m still a member of the congregation.
“In a few months I hope to get a licence to officiate as a retired priest. I’m not ready to stop entirely, I’m just slowing down.”
The Rev Rowland plans to continue as part-time chaplain at Grantham Hospital, a role she has held for six years and one she thoroughly enjoys.
She said: “It’s a very special place to work because you’re not part of the hospital. We are just the chaplain, so you have no axes to grind and people want to talk to us, if they’re frightened, anxious or just want someone to listen.”
In retirement, the Rev Rowland is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, the Rev Stan Rowland, as well as visiting her daughters and grandaughters, three-year-old Evie and Florence, aged four months.
They live in London, where the reverends hail from. They moved to Grantham from London 10 years ago when the Rev Stan took up the position of priest at the Church of Epiphany on the Earlesfield estate. Starting off as a reader, the Rev June Rowland went on to become ordained and has spent all her time as a priest at St Wulfram’s Church. Previously she was a nurse and then a trained counsellor.