On Sunday 31st July Hornsea United Reformed Church and many friends said ‘Thank you’ to Reverend Jamie Kissack, his wife Fran and family as they prepared to leave Hornsea, after 19 fruitful years. They are to join a team ministry in Sheffield comprising of three Ministers, one Church Related Community Worker and fourteen churches!
Jamie first came to Hornsea in 1997 from a four church pastorate in Rochdale that he shared with Fran, who is also a Minister in the United Reformed Church. At that time Hornsea had not had full time Ministry for over nine years but, thanks to the bequest of the late Mrs Dorothy Wright, a long serving member and Elder of the church, they felt in a position to be able call a full time Minister.
We were most fortunate that Jamie answered that call and although the congregation was relatively small and the weekly giving, plus bequest, could only support ministry for five years, Jamie and family prayerfully took on the challenge.
Jamie soon became an inspirational and yet most gracious leader, both in the church and the community. The church not only grew numerically, more than doubling in membership, but it grew in the community too with projects such as Living Well and an open door attitude for all.
Jamie worked closely with all the churches in Hornsea, through North Holderness Churches Together, and gave strong support to developing community events like Sea Sunday, the Giant Advent Calendar, the Easter Sunrise Service, on the sea front, and communal singing in the town centre. He had close links with the Hornsea Community Primary School, taking assemblies, talking to classes and being open to their far ranging and often challenging questions. The church would always be made ready and available for carol concerts or visits – something which Jamie loved.
He was a Governor at Hornsea School and Language College, chaplain at the Cottage Hospital, and served as chaplain to several Mayors of Hornsea Town Council. Jamie put his musical talent to good use too – supporting the community carol singing on his trombone and playing at the ‘Bands in the Park’ with Grotjaffa! He supported the work of Christian Aid in Hornsea – initiating the ‘Big Sing’ and he even cycled from London to Paris to raise funds and awareness.
Cycling to Jamie was both a pleasure and way of life as he would take every opportunity to ride the Wolds on his day off or cycle the rail trail into Hull when doing hospital visits. There are not many churches who pay their Minister a cycle allowance instead of a motoring one!
Jamie found time to serve the wider church taking on the position of Convener of the Pastoral Committee for the Yorkshire Synod as a member of the working party exploring ‘new ways of ministry’. He was a highly regarded member of the National Assessment Panel for people candidating for ministry. These commitments would require travelling the length and breadth of the country (not on his bike I hasten to add) and yet he always had time for the full life of Hornsea URC – supporting people in times of difficulty, illness or loss; encouraging and guiding people as they explored their faith; pulling on overalls to help paint the church hall or do a major spring clean; supporting young people through Pilots, Holiday Clubs, Messy Church and even ‘sleep-overs’ in the church.
Two words to sum up Jamie and his time in Hornsea – Love and Service. His love of people and Jesus Christ enabled him to live out his faith in practical ways and enable members of the church fellowship to grow in their own journey of faith and love. We will miss him greatly but he has equipped the church to continue to proclaim and share the love of God and we wish Jamie, Fran and family a wonderful ministry in Sheffield.