Our Deacon Richard D. Goldstraw
journey as a deacon seems to have come full circle with my first appointment
being in SW8 in 1992. I’m very happy to be with you at Barnes and visited once
and worshipped with you when the Rev. Colin Smith was minister. The church
hadn’t been refurbished at that stage.
I was born in Halifax West Yorkshire and some of you will know Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax, and Gentleman Jack, from the television shows set in the Calder Valley.
I was nurtured in the faith by the Methodist Church in Sowerby Bridge and became a local preacher at an early age, enabled by studying at Cliff College Calver. My Methodist heritage comes from my mother’s side of the family going back to her grandfather, my great-grandfather, Lewis. The church family was and always has been my “happy place”, my safe place, as the well-known hymn goes, “through all the changing scenes of life in trouble and in joy”, where I have felt loved, affirmed and grew in the knowledge and love of Christ. I know that this is sadly not everybody’s experience, but I sincerely believe that God is for all, welcomes all and looks on us with love, delights in us and wants a relationship with us. For this I work and hope and pray for. I look forward to working with Geoffrey and you all. Charles Wesley, whose hymns I love, good theology, wrote For all, for all, my Saviour died!
My journey has taken me from training in Residential Care after leaving school(rejoicing!!) and working for Leonard Cheshire Homes, the NHS and before I went to train to be a Deacon in 1990 I worked for the Shaftesbury Society.
I was ordained in 1994 and became a full member of the Methodist Diaconal Order. Ministry has taken me to work in several appointments in London and one in Surrey. Two have been Local Ecumenical Projects with the URC and one with the Anglican Church. I have enjoyed and have had the real privilege of serving in chaplaincies in prison, hospitals and workplace. I studied for an MA in Pastoral Theology at Heythrop College under the excellent tutelage of the Jesuits and support of the minister and congregation of Chelsea Methodist Church; full circle from leaving school rejoicing where I was told I was not up to much academically! With God all things are possible!
Josh has been my life partner for 15 years and we have been in a civil partnership since 2017. He has been my rock as we have journeyed together, and our three cats bring us much joy as do our families, friends, travel, eating out and much, much more.
At my welcome service we sang Thou God of Truth and love STF 620, another of Wesley’s greats, it says so much. I encourage you to look it up.
God bless you all.