"Farewell Ridley Hall!"
At the final community meeting of the Easter residential term for ordinands 2022, Sandro Göpfert said farewell to Ridley, after a sabbatical spent on the Refreshment Programme. He has kindly given us permission to share what were both humorous and a touching words. We will miss you, Sandro!
Sandro Göpfert, born in 1980, is married and has two children. After studying theology, he was, among other things, a youth officer at the Volkenroda monastery. He is pastor of the Saxon State Church in Burgstädt and is involved in the network ChurchConvention.
Ridley Hall has saved me! Let me explain: When I went to Oxford some weeks ago just in front of the former dwelling of J. R. R. Tolkien a pigeon did his crap on me – twice; on this part of my shirt, so that it was no longer wearable. Fortunately I had a second shirt in my bag – my newly bought black shirt with the Ridley logo. I had not intended to be a living provocation that day – walking through Oxford with a Cambridge shirt on and as a naïve German – but I had no other choice. Ridley Hall has saved me!
Joking aside: When I started here on April 4th I was a bit worn out from church service. The past two Covid-years have been frantically busy. I longed for a rest and fresh impetus. As a pastor, sometimes people put their stuff on you – and after twelve years in church service I realised that it was important to have some time for general reflection and internal cleaning. In summary: all in all, the eleven weeks at Ridley have been good for me and exceeded my expectations. Recovered and refreshed, I will return to Germany tomorrow. The yearning for my beloved wife Lydia and my children Elia and Hannah is tremendous. And I love my congregation, being very grateful to be able to serve as their pastor. During the past eleven weeks I had the benefit of recreation while you all had to work hard. Now we reverse our roles.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Mt 11,28)
When I visited the wonderful Cathedral of St. Albans some weeks ago I was struck by a wonderful icon with Jesus‘ words: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Mt 11,28) These are my wishes for all members of Ridley. You are a great community full of passion, humility and serenity. I could feel that clearly in every moment here, although I was not able to understand your conversations completely! But the Holy Spirit uses his own language to connect his people in a deeper way. Jürgen Klopp, the successful German manager of Liverpool FC, once said: "If you want special results, you have to feel special things together. You can speak about spirit, or you can live it.“ Ridley is a community, where both important things happen – to speak about the Holy Spirit and to live it!
Jürgen Klopp, the successful German manager of Liverpool FC, once said: "If you want special results, you have to feel special things together. You can speak about spirit, or you can live it.“
I want to say thank you very much for your kindness, encouragement, your Christian witness and your patience with my lack of English language ability. Ridley Hall is a gift and a blessing for the church and Ridley became a gift and a blessing for me as a missional-charismatic Lutheran theologian. Thank you very much!
Sandro Göpfert, June 16th 2022