Maundy Honour for Church Volunteers

by Gerry Lynch last modified 23 Mar, 2016 03:40 PM

Four dedicated servants of churches in the Diocese received Maundy money from HM the Queen at Windsor Castle

Maundy Honour for Church Volunteers

Photo (C) "Wehwalt". Licensed under Creative Commons 3.0.

Four dedicated church volunteers have received specially minted Maundy coins at a service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, from Her Majesty The Queen today after being recommended by the Diocese.

Every year, a number of men and women equal to the monarch’s age receive Maundy money from the Queen at a service on Maundy Thursday. Usually, they come from one part of the country at a time. To mark this special 90th birthday year for the Queen, 90 men and 90 women have been invited from across Britain.

“I’m excited, thrilled, and scared!” – that’s the reaction of one of our local Maundy recipients, Freda Meggs, who lives in Melksham where she worships at St Andrew’s Church.

“I hadn’t been to Windsor for about seventy years, since my sister was a soldier during the War. It’s a little bit frightening to go and stay in a strange place these days. My routine doesn’t vary much anymore and I’m less mobile and need to be assisted everywhere.

“I’m really thrilled, though. I find myself asking, ‘Of all the people, why me?’ I feel I’m representing a lot of older people who’ve just kept going over the years.

At the age of 90, Freda claims not to be “as involved as I once in Church was because I have Parkinson’s”. Yet she stills runs a housegroup, and leads prayers in church sometimes.

She was also a Lay Pastoral Assistant – for her, a ministry largely connected with visiting isolated older people. It is a ministry that suited her well as, she says, “I’m a bit of a people person!” Although no longer fit enough to get around so much, she still keeps in touch by telephone with the people she once visited in person.

In the past she was also involved in the Mothers’ Union, Sunday school and cleaning the church.

The giving of alms and the washing of feet on the Thursday of Holy Week are of great age.  Royal Maundy can be traced back in England to the thirteenth century. The Service derives its name from the latin ‘mandatum’ meaning a commandment and its opening words are Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another: As I have loved you, so you are to love one another.”

The gifts distributed to the recipients are symbolic; a red purse which contains a nominal allowance for clothing and provisions formerly given in kind and a white purse containing Maundy coins of as many pence as the Sovereign has years of age.

Lifelong Poole resident Peter Hooper (81) was another Maundy recipient. He is in his 48th year as Director of Music in St George’s Church, Oakdale and lives nearby in Creekmoor.

“I feel very humbled indeed that I was invited. It’s a great honour. I’m was very excited and a little nervous beforehand. We stayed overnight and met our grandson and his wife, as he teaches in Windsor.

“It has been a joy being involved in training the choir, including generations of boys and girls, over the years” says Peter, whose working life was spent as a sales executive in the timber trade.

“Music has always been important to me. I learned the violin as a boy in lessons, and then a friend encouraged me to try my hand at being a church organist, and I taught myself the piano and the organ.

“At first, I was organist in Hampreston, then took over in St George’s in 1968. I have now served under four vicars.

“My favourite moment was about four years ago, when St George’s Choir was invited to sing Choral Evensong at Salisbury Cathedral when the choir school there was on holiday.

“I also remember with fondness that after 40 years in service, my assistant Michelle Cobley organised a great big service and lunch for me, which was a great honour.

The other Dorset invitee was Jim Wilson, who lives in Puddletown and attends St Mary’s Church in the village. Jim has been a churchwarden and Vice-Chair of the Church’s Fabric Committee, as well as being Treasurer to the Parochial Church Council for 15 of the last 30 years. He has also been Treasurer of Dorchester Deanery in the past, and serves the wider community as Honorary Treasurer of the Puddletown Charity.

“It’s a great honour”, he says of his invitation to the Maundy Service. “It came out of the blue completely. I’m normally so busy trying to sort out the fabric of a 1000 year old church that wants to fall down all the time!”

Devizes resident Joy Parsons is another recipient who has served the Church in a multiplicity of roles over the years. A worshipper at St James’, Southbroom, in the town, she has been a Sunday school teacher, bell ringer, made coffee after services, organised the cleaning rota, and parish magazine treasurer.

Clare Kent, Churchwarden at St James’, said, “Joy is first and foremost a very kind, loving, humble, person who has done a number of jobs St James’, which she has attended faithfully for many decades. She is the sort of person who does whatever needs doing without seeking recognition – in other words, the sort of person the Church would be lost without.

“I was absolutely delighted when I heard she’d received a Maundy invitation.”
Four dedicated church volunteers from Dorset and Wiltshire have received specially minted Maundy coins at a service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, from Her Majesty The Queen today after being recommended by the Diocese of Salisbury.

Every year, a number of men and women equal to the monarch’s age receive Maundy money from the Queen at a service on Maundy Thursday. Usually, they come from one part of the country at a time. To mark this special 90th birthday year for the Queen, 90 men and 90 women have been invited from across Britain.

“I’m excited, thrilled, and scared!” – that’s the reaction of one of our local Maundy recipients, Freda Meggs, who lives in Melksham where she worships at St Andrew’s Church.

“I hadn’t been to Windsor for about seventy years, since my sister was a soldier during the War. It’s a little bit frightening to go and stay in a strange place these days. My routine doesn’t vary much anymore and I’m less mobile and need to be assisted everywhere.

“I’m really thrilled, though. I find myself asking, ‘Of all the people, why me?’ I feel I’m representing a lot of older people who’ve just kept going over the years.

At the age of 90, Freda claims not to be “as involved as I once in Church was because I have Parkinson’s”. Yet she stills runs a housegroup, and leads prayers in church sometimes.

She was also a Lay Pastoral Assistant – for her, a ministry largely connected with visiting isolated older people. It is a ministry that suited her well as, she says, “I’m a bit of a people person!” Although no longer fit enough to get around so much, she still keeps in touch by telephone with the people she once visited in person.

In the past she was also involved in the Mothers’ Union, Sunday school and cleaning the church.

The giving of alms and the washing of feet on the Thursday of Holy Week are of great age.  Royal Maundy can be traced back in England to the thirteenth century. The Service derives its name from the latin ‘mandatum’ meaning a commandment and its opening words are Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another: As I have loved you, so you are to love one another.”

The gifts distributed to the recipients are symbolic; a red purse which contains a nominal allowance for clothing and provisions formerly given in kind and a white purse containing Maundy coins of as many pence as the Sovereign has years of age.

Lifelong Poole resident Peter Hooper (81) was another Maundy recipient. He is in his 48th year as Director of Music in St George’s Church, Oakdale and lives nearby in Creekmoor.

“I feel very humbled indeed that I was invited. It’s a great honour. I’m was very excited and a little nervous beforehand. We stayed overnight and met our grandson and his wife, as he teaches in Windsor.

“It has been a joy being involved in training the choir, including generations of boys and girls, over the years” says Peter, whose working life was spent as a sales executive in the timber trade.

“Music has always been important to me. I learned the violin as a boy in lessons, and then a friend encouraged me to try my hand at being a church organist, and I taught myself the piano and the organ.

“At first, I was organist in Hampreston, then took over in St George’s in 1968. I have now served under four vicars.

“My favourite moment was about four years ago, when St George’s Choir was invited to sing Choral Evensong at Salisbury Cathedral when the choir school there was on holiday.

“I also remember with fondness that after 40 years in service, my assistant Michelle Cobley organised a great big service and lunch for me, which was a great honour.

The other Dorset invitee was Jim Wilson, who lives in Puddletown and attends St Mary’s Church in the village. Jim has been a churchwarden and Vice-Chair of the Church’s Fabric Committee, as well as being Treasurer to the Parochial Church Council for
15 of the last 30 years. He has also been Treasurer of Dorchester Deanery in the past, and serves the wider community as Honorary Treasurer of the Puddletown Charity.

“It’s a great honour”, he says of his invitation to the Maundy Service. “It came out of the blue completely. I’m normally so busy trying to sort out the fabric of a 1000 year old church that wants to fall down all the time!”

Devizes resident Joy Parsons is another recipient who has served the Church in a multiplicity of roles over the years. A worshipper at St James’, Southbroom, in the town, she has been a Sunday school teacher, bell ringer, made coffee after services, organised the cleaning rota, and parish magazine treasurer.

Clare Kent, Churchwarden at St James’, said, “Joy is first and foremost a very kind, loving, humble, person who has done a number of jobs St James’, which she has attended faithfully for many decades. She is the sort of person who does whatever needs doing without seeking recognition – in other words, the sort of person the Church would be lost without.

“I was absolutely delighted when I heard she’d received a Maundy invitation.”

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