AROUND 150 well-wishers gathered to bid a fond farewell at the retirement service of Rev John Piper.
Rev Piper was Minister at Shaw and Heyside United Reformed Church for 12 years and, although very sad to see him go, the congregation wanted to give him an afternoon to remember.
The event on Saturday, July 14 began with a short service which included three of Rev Piper’s favourite readings and ‘The Prodigal Son – a pantomime’ specially written for the occasion.
After this, Rev Piper was presented with a Robert ‘Mouseman’ Thompson nut bowl and a substantial cheque.
The members of his church put on an excellent buffet which gave everyone a chance to talk about what they were doing and reminiscences of John.
Rev Piper, alongside his colleague at Shaw Methodist Church, Rev David Jones, who retired last year, was instrumental in making sure Churches Together in Shaw and Crompton became a developing and strong group.
His charitable accolades include helping to launch the Shaw Foodbank and working with the Oldham Town Centre Chaplaincy and The Street Angels.
During his time as reverend, Rev Piper was treasurer of the NW Synod of the URC and, alongside taking holidays with his wife in his retirement, will take on the role of deputy treasurer to the United Reformed Church.
As of yet, nobody has filled the position of reverend as there are plans to create a trust of 11 churches in the Shaw area which would be led by two ministers.