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The Lollipop Vicar

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Mar, 2022 09:13 AM

When we spotted #LollipopVicar on our feed, we had to get the full story, especially when we noticed that it was the Revd Mike Tufnell, Rector of The Lantern Church Canford Magna, kitted out with his lollipop man uniform.

As he grabbed his neons and headed out for his next shift, we managed to catch him and hear what it's all about. 
"I actually felt a little nudge towards this a couple of years ago, before the pandemic. My daughter was at the local school and had just moved on. I just thought, how can I be serving this school? What do I need to be doing? And as I passed Mrs Witt doing it one day I sensed God say, 'That's what I want you to do!'" 

"Then a couple of months ago, Mrs. Witt, who has served as the lollipop lady for 47 years had to retire – she's helped three generations of the same family cross that road. She inspired me and brought this idea of serving the school to the forefront again. I got into contact with the right people, and offered to help if it would be a blessing. After brief training and a DBS check, I had my first shift about three weeks ago! It's a great way to serve the local community – it's not a church school but we are very involved. We're in talks about what we can collaborate on with the Headteacher, Katherine Anstey, who is wonderful." 

"I'm having great fun being the Lollipop Vicar and getting to know all the families, and briefly speaking to the teachers. I give the children a fun fact each morning and afternoon - if they're grumpy and don't want to go to school it just distracts them and gets them thinking about something else to be grateful for. Now they're expecting it. They look at me eagerly!  One girl even came up to me and asked me if I knew that Australia is wider than the moon. And it's true!"  

Mike is having a lot of fun serving the community in such a niche way, but for him it's more than simply an opportunity to fulfil a need, it's an opportunity to pray: 

"Whenever I'm not giving out the fun facts, or letting people know it's safe to cross the road, I'm praying for them as they walk by. I pray Numbers 6:24-26 over them. I see this as a wonderful way to be out in the community, as a priest to the parish,  - blessing our community practically and spiritually. Who knows what fruit that will bear, but we believe that our prayers make a difference." 
Finally, to anyone who might have felt a little nudge from God, or see a need they could fill, Mike says: 
"Try it. What's the worst that could happen? It could be just you, but it could also open the door to an amazing way to further the Kingdom in some small way. My impression from the response of the local community is that they love seeing me help out as their lollipop man. You never know when that 'nudge' might be a whisper that will open the door for God's work in the community through you."

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