In praise of Forest

After four eventful years, Forest Paget is moving on from his role as Programme Manager. Steve May-Miller writes a few words of appreciation and thanks.....

Several years before Forest took on the Programme Manager role, I recall meeting up for lunch and discussing the future. I think we both sensed at that stage that something was around the corner, but we needed to wait for God's timing and clarity.

We thought things had become clear when he signed up to the demanding and multi-faceted role of Programme Manager. It was early 2020 and none of us knew what was just around the corner. As Covid loomed ever-larger in our world, it felt like our biggest challenge was dealing with the unknown: would guests be able to holiday at LPO? What restrictions would we have to impose? Even in 2021 when we ran a shorter season our guests came mainly from France and Holland. Oh, and did I mention Brexit?

Forest, with Rosie right alongside, has navigated his role through the most disrupted, unpredictable and challenging few years of our history. He has graciously accepted the times when we can do nothing - no guests, no need for programme! He has skilfully navigated the times when we did not know from one week to the next whether speakers and worship leaders would be available. He has led a big team to deliver big-time when we've had almost 1000 guests on site.

Forest and Rosie have also pioneered for us a new way of working: Brexit has forced us to do many things differently in order to preserve our core values and culture. In the background this involves flexibility in planning, practical arrangements and obtaining visas. There have been numerous changes to the way our animateurs (thank you for the word, Forest) have been recruited, trained, accommodated and supported. Forest has done this with a characteristic calm, comprehensive organisation while always, it seems, finding time for the odd 100k bike ride or just a morning trip to the café at Sion.

I've not even mentioned Forest's background role as President of the brand new Association Le Pas Opton. Alongside a small number of other pioneers he has seen our French charity established and ready for fresh challenges in 2024 as it fully takes over the running of the site.

Neither have I mentioned that before any recognised job or role at LPO, Forest and Rosie manned our exhibition stands, travelled to the LPO prayer weekend for many years (sometimes cycling all the way if Forest could find a willing co-traveller) and constantly supported and spoken well of LPO around their many friends and contacts.

So thank you Forest. You remain an important part of the LPO family and we hope we'll still see you and the family around from time to time.