Expressing their deep gratitude for his ministry and pastoral care, they presented him with a cheque, photograph album and farewell cake to send him on his way to his new parish at Bury St Edmunds.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here in Diss,” he said, as he prepared for the move. “It’s a great parish community, and I feel very privileged to have been a part of it. It is the people that make the community and I thank everyone for welcoming me into their lives. It has also been good to work with the ministers and communities of the other churches in the town.
“It is never easy to move on, and when Bishop Alan asked me to take up the appointment of parish priest of St Edmunds, it came as quite a surprise. But as a priest I have to see the hand of God in this and respond generously.”
Fr David said he would take many memories with him, in particular the parish community’s timely efforts to become a LiveSimply parish, living simply, sustainably and in solidarity with the world’s poorest. The parish was the 25th to receive the LiveSimply award from CAFOD, and the campaign coincided with the publication of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s encyclical on care for our common home.
He was also pleased to witness the growing involvement of children in Sunday worship through their children’s liturgy, or ‘Little Church’, as it is known in Diss.
He had also enjoyed the many social activities organised in the parish: as well as being good fun, they helped build community, he said – and many of them raised funds to help pay for the building of the parish’s new church of St Henry Morse.
Fr David’s replacement is Fr Alex Anaman, who has recently arrived in this country from Ghana.
“He will bring a new dimension to the parish and I’m sure the community will quickly take him to their hearts,” said Fr David
Pictured above, the parish community at the Church of St Henry Morse, Diss, gathered to thank Fr David Bagstaff for serving as parish priest for the past five years.