Friday, 10 November 2017

Tom Goss: A Tribute

As Tom Goss retired as Dean of Jersey in 1985, Michael Halliwell penned this tribute to him in the Church Magazine, "The Pilot".

A brief resume of his life is given here from Wikipedia:

The Rt Rev Thomas Ashworth Goss MA was born on 27 July 1912 and educated at Shardlow Hall, Aldenham and the University of St Andrews. He was ordained in 1938 and began his ecclesiastical career with a curacy at Frodingham, after which he became a chaplain in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. 

He was a Japanese prisoner of war from 1942 to 1945. When peace returned he became vicar of Sutton Le Marsh until 1951, when he returned to the RAF, serving until 1967. An Honorary Chaplain to the Queen, he was Dean of Jersey from 1971 to 1985. He died on 10 December 1997.

St Brelade Parish Notes, The Pilot, 1985
by Michael Halliwell

THE DEANERY. When I arrived in Germany in 1965 as newly-appointed chaplain to the British Embassy in Bonn, I was also given charge of the Anglican civilian congregation in Cologne. Anglicans had worshipped in Cologne since the I7th Century, but the main Church of England presence at that time was that of the Royal Air Force.

It was not long before I heard about a man called Tom Goss who was a Forces' Chaplain ministering to services families in and around the city and playing an important part in broadcasting as Chaplain in Cologne to the British Forces Network, as it was then known. Though we never met, I was aware that when he left Cologne and his post was not filled, there was a sense in which I was treading in his foot- steps, and when the establishment there was further run down, I was officiating Chaplin for a short while to the R.A. F. in Cologne.

Great was my interest, therefore, when I heard that Tom Goss had been appointed to Jersey as Rector of St Saviour and subsequently of course Rector of St Helier and Dean.

When in due course I returned to the Island, I was glad of the opportunity of working under him in the Deanery and of sharing with him in the onward development of the Communicare Project. With his usual modesty he will say that his role in the development of the Communicare Centre was a relatively minor one.

But when you are running an experiment, there is a great deal to be said for having a chairman who allows you to get on with making your own mistakes and does not interfere with the detailed day-to-day planning and execution. This is exactly what he did for us, but the impression should not be given that whilst he stood back from the project he in any way failed to identify with it. It was a great help to know that when we got into scrapes, as we did from time to time, he was there with advice and support.

Without that support, and the link with the Island Church which came from having the Dean as Chairman of the Sponsoring Body (as it then was), it is unlikely that Communicare would have been the success that it undoubtedly is.

The ministry of Dean is a varied and difficult one, one takes a lot of knocks, and is the prey for everyone's expectations! When thanked for what he has done, Tom Goss has been invariably humble about his achievements, but there are enormous numbers of ordinary people who are deeply grateful for his warmth and Christian friendship, and the large number of leaders in the Island community who have surely found in him a friendly and approachable representative of the Church.

In a time of rapid change in the life of the church, Tom Goss' ministry has had strong conservative elements (some would say too conservative!), but in a conservative island it is probably not a bad thing if someone at the top represents conservative traditions.

I shall always feel personally grateful to Tom Goss for the unequivocal stand that he took at the time of the Liberation Celebrations on the issue of reconciliation. It was profoundly encouraging to hear from a man, who had suffered at the hands of the Japanese, supporting the Clergy Chapter in urging the Liberation Committee to invite a German pastor as a gesture of reconciliation. It is a profound pity that the Committee was unable to accept his advice.

WELCOMES. The pace of change in the Deanery has been rapid in recent years; we have just welcomed the Rev Michael Nicolle to St John and I was sorry that my absence from the Island prevented me sharing in the Service of Institution. We shall very soon be welcoming our new Dean and the new Rector of St Helier, the Rev Basil O'Ferrall, and there are vacancies both present and impending at St Luke's and All Saints with St Simon's. These items will figure largely on the agenda of our new Dean, and we must pray for him and for the church officers of the districts concerned as well as for the Pastoral Committee that the planning and decisions which are taken will be in accordance with God's will for our Island Church. This is undoubtedly an unparalleled opportunity to look carefully at the ministry of the church in St Helier and its suburbs, and to plan carefully for the future.

I can only say that from my fourteen years experience the benefits of shared ministry can be seen to outweigh any possible disadvantages. I believe that the bulk of the members of four congregations would agree with this.

COUNCIL AND COMMITTEES. At its first meeting the Church Council agreed to the appointment of a number of committees to be responsible for various aspects of the parish's work. These have had preliminary meetings, and the second meeting of the Council looked at the ideas which were emerging. The committees have been given authority to continue their discussions and to draw up future plans. We hope that in the autumn there will be an opportunity greatly to enlarge the number of our House Groups beyond the present figure of 10 to enable as many as possible of our members to take part in this type of Christian activity. We shall of course need to train more leaders and obtain further offers of hospitality for the groups. Any offers would be gratefully received.

The autumn will also see the beginning of a two-year training course for lay readers which will be shared jointly with the Rev Laurie Binder and the Rev Colin Hough. Inevitably this will mean that I shall not be as free as I was for other parochial affairs, but it is hoped that you will be able to understand the need for this reallocation of time for training new leaders for the Church.

HOLY BAPTISM. Laura Ellen Susan Cattell; Gregory James Cadec Anderton; Aimee Elaine Cadec Anderton; Lucy-Jayne Lewington.

HOLY MATRIMONY. Peter Philip Samson to Sarah Ann Flambard; John Michael Hind to Alison Joy Corfield; Daryl Mark Camm to Joy Rhodes; Andrew Charles Diggle to Suzanne May Le Duc; Alan Martin Knight to Lynda Joyce Aked; Nigel Mark Godfrey to Sonia Veronica Scott.

BURIALS. Rosa Maud Amy Richards, aged 76; Doris Mabel Le Gros, 61; Betty Millicent Thackrey, 54; Richard Francis Wickham, 75.

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