An outdoor reception was held at the Litwin home on Sunday, July 4th for the retirement of a local Reverend.
Rev. Judith Fayter arrived for an interview with Erie Street United Church 15 years ago. Despite not knowing Ridgetown existed, she knew she wanted to be the minister.
Now ready for retirement, Fayter said all the years in between have been a blessing and a joy. She added that so much has happened in Ridgetown.
Fayter said she has many great memories from her time serving as the Reverand. Among the long list of memories, Fayter highlighted the Lunch Bunch, which has been serving meals and friendship to people in the community with the Erie Street Church as the host.
“It involved volunteers from churches in Ridgetown and surrounding areas who, week by week, prepared delicious meals and welcomed their guests with true hospitality,” said Fayter.
She also noted great memories of churches and ministers who have come together to worship, encouraging and caring for one another as colleagues committed to ministry in town, events such as The May 16 Miracle, community and church members welcoming and given support and friendship to refugee families relocating to Chatham-Kent and engaging in countless acts of kindness and friendship day by day.
Fayter said that while it is a brief and incomplete list, many more could be added.
“Fifteen years ago, I did not know Ridgetown even existed. I am so blessed that I discovered it. Now has come the time for me to retire as Minister of Erie Street United Church. But Ridgetown is my home. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” said Fayter. “I’m nicely settled in, and I have great neighbours and friends.”
With more than 15 years of experience, Fayter has seen it all. She added that the last year had been the most challenging but rewarding year.
“I had to learn how to be my own production company. I mean, I was the producer, the editors, prop set, the whole bit,” said Fayter. “It was a nightmare.”
The recently retired Fayter said there had been silver linings that came from the experience, however.
“One of the good things that’s happened is now, having services online will be continued. We’ve got the setup now to continue to record them and upload them. They’re going out all over the province and even across the country,” said Fayter.
While Fayter will be retired, you will still be able to find her out in the community lending a helping hand.
“I am working for a few months part-time filling in for someone who’s on sick leave in the church bureaucracy,” said Fayter. “I’m going to look and investigate volunteer opportunities.”
Fayter expects her replacement to take over duties around October.
The church has a new minister coming in October. They have been through the process and interviews. Just a few weeks ago, they had their congregational meeting, and the position has been accepted,” said Fayter.
She added that while she will be gone, she is confident the church is in great hands.
“The people of this church are just absolutely fantastic. There has never been a minute in 15 years when I have thought, ‘oh why am I here’ or ‘do I want to be here’ or ‘it’s time to go’. It has just been an absolutely marvellous experience, and the whole town is that way for me,” said Fayter.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News