Retirement looms as Tony prepares for pastures new

Rev Tony Buglass, who is  retiring as superintendent Methodist minister of Hebden Bridge
Rev Tony Buglass, who is retiring as superintendent Methodist minister of Hebden Bridge

A superintendent Methodist minister is set to retire after nine years of service in the upper Calder Valley.

Rev Tony Buglass, whose circuit includes Hebden Bridge, Heptonstall, Mytholmroyd, Luddenden and Luddenden Foot URC, will leave for Hexham at the end of the month.

Rev Buglass, who arrived on a five-year appointment from Pickering but stayed on for an extra term, said: “When I first arrived I felt the church was on the periphery of the community. As far as the gay and lesbian community was concerned, there was no contact whatsoever. My hope was to get the church more active in the community and I think that has worked.”

Rev Buglass, who has a masters in theology, grew up in North Shields, trained as a minister in his 20s, before leading churches in Tyneside, Northumberland, Yorkshire and the Pennines. He has also been a hospital chaplain, prison chaplain, RAF chaplain, a distance educational tutor and formed links with the Methodist church in Estonia.

During his time in the valley, Rev Buglass spent two years as joint superintendent of the Calderdale circuit, was squadron chaplain to 250 (Halifax) Air Training Corps, was active in Hebden Royd Churches Together, supported the food and support drop-in centre in Halifax and fought for the future of the Luddenden Foot Community Centre when it was under the threat of closure.

Rev Buglass has also formed links with the communit,y having hosted regular assemblies at Riverside Junior School, performed with the Calder Valley Voices choir for around eight years, held a members’ card at the Trades Club and supported anti-domestic violence charity The White Ribbon Campaign.

“I will miss the choir - Calder Valley Voices. There’s also such a lovely mix of people in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd and we have made some good friends. I have really enjoyed living and working here,” said Rev Buglass, who has also developed good relationships with the Anglican church via his wife, children’s author Margi McAllister.

“We will also miss the Calder Valley. Hexham is beautiful, but the hills here are stunning and this place has got character.”

Rev Buglass said he is looking forward to having more time for his hobbies - plane spotting, art and music - and devoting more time to supporting his wife’s career.

“I expect to continue preaching and being involved in whatever Biblical studies and fellowship I can within the Methodist circuit. But it will be without the pastoral responsibilities of being in charge,” he said. “I will have time for art, music and the stuff that has been shoved to one side. My wife is still going to work as a children’s author and I’ll be able to give her more support. I will need to find that balance of being a house husband and a kept man!”

Rev Buglass’s final service will be at Mytholmroyd Methodist Church on Sunday, July 28.