In October, Canon George Moffat retires after 5 ½ years as Rector of the
Priory Church at Bolton Abbey.
Originally from Hawick, George started his church career as a curate in
Falkirk. Then, after teaching in a theological college in Papua New Guinea,
he became Edinburgh University's Anglican Chaplain. He came to Yorkshire
when he was appointed as Vicar at South Emsall, near Barnsley, arriving, as
he said, 'in time for the miners' strike'. His appointment as Team Rector in
Manningham, Bradford, exposed him to further civil disturbance with the
riots that broke out in 1995 and 2001. Finding himself in the epicentre of
the 2001 riots, George was one of a small and brave group attempting to
bring about peace and calm. He was commended, along with others, by a senior
judge, who said that 'Canon George Moffatt and other church and community
leaders joined hands across the road to try to stop the activities of the
mob.' During his time in Bradford he was appointed as Honorary Chaplain to
George's appointment as Rector of the Priory Church at Bolton Abbey in 2007
may have involved a move to a more idyllic setting than Bradford, but it was
one that provided ample opportunity for his energies.With its large and
active congregation, its many thousands of casual visitors each year, and
weddings averaging more than one a week, the Priory demands a great deal
from its minister. And George has also brought in a number of innovations.
The 'For Better For Worse' club provides the to-be-marrieds with varied
volunteer opportunities for taking part in the life of the church. 'Liquid
Family Worship' is a lively and extremely popular Sunday activity for
children and young families and he has also initiated plans to expand the
Priory buildings in order to accommodate increased musical activity.
George and his wife Peta (whom he first met 'on a sinking canoe in an alligator-filled river in Papua New Guinea', and who has herself worked extensively for Wakefield Diocese in projects in Tanzania), are moving to the Forest of Dean, where they will be nearer to their two adult daughters. The congregation and community of Bolton Abbey wish them both a long and fulfilling retirement.
His farewell will be at the Priory on 16 September when he will celebrate
and preach at the 10.30am Sung Eucharist. There will be refreshments in
Bolton Abbey Village Hall afterwards.