New era for Norwich counselling centre
Norwich Christian counselling centre the 4Cs is set for a new era as it says goodbye to one director and welcomes another one on board. John Breeze reports.
“It is not the beginning of a good work that matters so much as bringing it to a good end,” said Rev Michael Stagg at the farewell party for Rob Hoffman, retiring Director of the 4Cs Counselling Centre.
Held on April 17 at the King’s Centre in Norwich, the party not only marked Rob’s retirement, but the welcoming of Steve Seedall as its new director.
Quoting from Sir Walter Raleigh and picking up on Rob’s new retirement pastime of bowls, Michael, who is Chairman of the Trustees, went on to say how much the City and its Churches owe to Rob for his pioneering work of setting up the Counselling Centre at Christchurch, Catton, way back in the 1980s.
“This was a real work of bringing in the Kingdom of God – something that is not always easy to see – but it involved meeting the needs of the hurting and damaged people, the marginalised in our society. It is important to recognise such work as part of the Kingdom, which is more than evangelism.
“Rob had the original vision and he’s taken it through some ups and downs through several changes of premises. We are very grateful for Rob’s commitment and perseverance in taking it through these changes but we have come to a point now where I think that lots of new things can happen and hopefully we will get more interest from a wider support group.
“With Steve at the helm we can see the opportunity for reaching out and making the churches much more aware of this because I think that 4Cs is one of the most important works for God’s kingdom that we are doing. We’re expecting some money from the Church Urban Fund which, hopefully, will make us more financially stable and also should inform the churches nationally of what we’re doing and then this will result in more people backing the 4Cs,” said Michael.
About 30 members of the Counselling Centre’s team both past and present enjoyed a buffet lunch provided by the King’s Centre’s excellent catering staff and at the end of the celebration Rob was given a cheque from donations provided by his friends and colleagues at the centre.
Rob and his wife Maggie were very appreciative of the tributes they were given and, although Rob is still working at the centre in an administrative capacity, they can enjoy retirement together and continue in their hobby of flat mat bowls.
After the event, Rob explained his motives and feelings about his retirement: “I really feel that I’ve come to the end of my time at the Centre. I was quite confident that we would find someone to take over although I wasn’t sure how long that would take.
“Something inside of me said that it was time for me to stop and now that Steve has come along I understand that that was right. I was fine at setting things up and running them in an organised manner, which is what I have been doing, but my strength is not in going out networking and those sorts of aspects of the job, whereas Steve is ideal for that and it is time for that to happen.
“4Cs is to change and grow in a different way now - it’s got a firm base from which it can grow and I’m confident that it will. It will be different as I’m sure that Steve will have his own vision as I had mine. My vision was for the service and my role has been running it in that organised form but Steve will now take it on and develop it in a new way,” said Rob.
Commenting on the future work of 4C’s, Steve Seedall said: “Many of us, at some time in our lives, experience times when we struggle with the pain of dealing with some of life’s issues. At times like this we may look to others to help us make sense of life.
“How we care for each other during these days, and particularly for those who are most vulnerable, is a big challenge for the church. I wholeheartedly believe Christ Jesus when He claims to be ‘The way, the truth and the life’ and my prayer for anyone who comes to the 4C’s for help is that they will experience the unique and passionate love of Jesus, The Wonderful Counsellor.”
The 4Cs is situated in Chapel House, 10 Rosemary Lane, Norwich, NR3 3BB (which is behind Norwich Central Baptist Church). Tel 01603 766321
Read the project directory entry on the counselling centre
Pictured above is Steve Seedall, left, with Rob Hoffman.