Archbishop's Awards for Local Churchpeople

by Gerry Lynch last modified 23 Mar, 2016 07:01 PM

Chrysogon Bamber and Brother Samuel SSF given prestigious Lambeth Awards

Two churchpeople from the Diocese have been given prestigious awards by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Lambeth Awards, presented annually, recognise outstanding service in various fields.

Chrysogon Bamber, from Figheldean, has been given the Alphege Award for Evangelism and Witness; Brother Samuel, a Franciscan friar based at Hilfield, outside Sherborne, has been given the Dunstan Award for Prayer and the Religious Life.

The awards, made from Fairtrade silver by the London firm Cred Jewellery, will be conferred upon recipients by the Archbishop during a ceremony at Lambeth Palace on 31st March. 40 people will receive awards this year, many Christians but some of other faiths. Recipients will include religious, political and community leaders, musicians and others.

Chrysogon Bamber, is a Licensed Lay Minister in the seven churches of the Avon Valley Team. She said, “I have been a Licensed Lay Minister since 1994, but I understand I’ve received the Alphege Award, which is quite an honour, because of my national work on Lay Ministry. I was Vice-Chair of the Church of England’s Central Readers Council for six years, an important national body for lay ministers. This meant travelling around the country, doing things like sitting on the editorial committee for Reader magazine, organising conferences, strategy and PR work.

“I was also Vice Warden of Readers in the Diocese of Salisbury for some years.

“Lay ministry brings a lay perspective to ministry in the Church and a presence of Church ministry in the community.

“As a Church, we encourage lay people in our congregations to explore whether Licensed Lay Ministry is a vocation for them. I can assure people that it is a very worthwhile and life-enriching calling.”

Brother Samuel SSF is Guardian at the idyllic Hilfield Friary, and has been a Franciscan friar for 42 years, since he joined as a novice aged 27. As well as Hilfield, he has served in Liverpool, Manchester, Cambridge, Zimbabwe and the Solomon Islands.

He has been Novice Guardian for the European Province of the Anglican Franciscans, Guardian of various Franciscan Houses, and Minister Provincial (head of the Anglican Franciscans in the UK).

Over the last 10 years he has been involved in re-visioning the life and work of Hilfield Friary so that it is now a mixed community of professed religious brothers and lay men and women, young and old, married and single. The focus of the Friary has particularly been to live in an ecologically sustainable way following St Francis’ vision of creation, and to share something of that wisdom with those who come and visit.

With characteristic humour, Brother Samuel SSF,  “I burst out laughing when I heard I'd received the award – what have I done to deserve this? But I’m honoured to receive it as a sign of Archbishop Justin’s commitment to the life of prayer in the Church and the renewal of religious community life.”

Reflecting on the awards, Bishop Nicholas said,  “I was delighted to hear this news. Chrysogon and Samuel are worthy recipients of the awards, reflecting a life of dedication to their neighbours, their Lord Jesus Christ, and His Church.”

Archbishop Justin Welby said,  “It will be a huge honour and joy to confer these awards upon such an extraordinary and diverse group of people. The recipients come from many walks of life and many parts of the world, but all have served in their fields with distinction and self-sacrificial service, going beyond the call of duty.

“I hope and pray that the ceremony on 31st March will be an opportunity for us to honour them and give thanks to God for their gifts, which have been such a blessing to the church and to the world.”

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