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Serving a Holy Saviour

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Sep, 2020 10:12 PM

In a number of our parishes, many people seek to do more than attend services - they humbly offer their time and gifts, and hear the call of God as they do so.

Serving a Holy Saviour

Helen with daughter Abigail and the Revd Melanie Otto

Holy Saviour at Westbury Leigh recently held a small socially-distanced service to celebrate Holy Cross and 20 years of the church being made into a very popular and well used community hall also used for church services - and parishioner Helen Thomas also celebrated 30 years of being a Server.

Asked to speak, Helen modestly said the following:

"What has it meant to Me, to be a Server at Holy Saviour?

"I have been worshipping at Holy Saviour since I was around 4 years old when I joined the Sunday school that was held in the hall that once stood behind the church.

"I have fond and vivid memories of coming into the church with the Sunday school for Easter and mothering day services, sitting in the front pew waiting our turn to go up to the Altar rail to receive our blessing and being fascinated with the picture behind the Altar and watching the Servers who I really thought were Angels in their white robes!

"I still find myself drawn to the picture behind the Altar now, often realising I've missed half of a Sermon in the process!

"I recall proudly playing the part of Mary in our Sunday school Nativities, loaning my doll to play Jesus and, as I grew older, narrating the Nativity from the Pulpit which once stood in the corner of what is now Westbury Leigh Community Hall.

Serving a Holy Saviour- Helen aged 13
Helen aged 13

"At the age of 13 I decided to be confirmed so that I could strengthen my faith and relationship with God. Shortly afterwards the Revds Dorothy Bellamy and Michael Flight asked if I would consider joining the Serving Team - back then Holy Saviour had an established Choir and several Servers so I was on a rota and probably only served once a month!

"I remember during one service I thought I'd quite like to become a Nun. I went off that idea and decided I might like to become a Vicar - I do still occasionally have that idea when I start services when the Clergy are running late - however the ability to stand up and address a large crowd fills me with dread so I think I will stick with Serving!

"My role as a Server has changed quite a bit over the last 20 years from when the Church was made into the Community Hall - less processing down the aisle, less people to lead into a service, we only have 1 Altar instead of 2, less things to drop during the communion and yes, I have been guilty!

"I am also quite clever at spilling candle wax and red wine on my pristine white Alb - hopefully God accepts my imperfections and forgives my irreverence at times - fits of giggles during services and desires to start dancing during Hymns.

"Somehow, I seem to have continued serving for 30 years! I think I may have had a few days off in the past when my working hours required me on a Sunday, I have served whilst heavily pregnant and with a screaming baby in my arms.

"I have served alongside more Vicars than I can count, (Revd Margaret Davies being still beside me now) a few Bishops, (they were slightly scary services!) and have probably annoyed and traumatised quite a few Curates in their training throughout the years too!

"I have served with some wonderful other Servers in my time and am now blessed to be able to Serve alongside my eldest daughter now.

"I love the fact that Holy Saviour is a rural church, I love sitting in the service and hearing birdsong from outside, back in the days before Leigh Park was built you would hear tractors rumbling down the road too. I love to see the sunshine streaming in through the windows and the stained glass casting beautiful lights on the floor.

"The congregation of Holy Saviour are part of my extended family and I am so grateful to have been able to worship here for all of these years and hope to continue for many more to come.


An exciting and groundbreaking initiative saw the church transformed in 2000 by the joint efforts of the Parish and a newly formed community group. The hall is now used by a wide range of local residents and has become an important and very active centre for the community.

The parish retains the chancel of the church and this is preserved for regular Christian worship. The refurbished nave of the church is a community hall complete with toilets, kitchen and meeting room. By folding back a screen, the entire church can be used for larger services.

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