Recognition for long service to the Church

Published: September 28, 2021

Statue of St KyneburgaBishop Rachel has presented long service awards to people who have served the life of the Church in and around Gloucestershire. The ten people chosen for special recognition today have become members of the Company of Saint Kyneburga.

Saint Kyneburga was the co-foundress and abbess in the eighth century of the first religious community at what is now Gloucester Cathedral. The association with Kyneburga is a reminder that those who are honoured for their service today are the latest in a long line going back 1300 years of those who have built up, maintained and enriched the life of the Church in Gloucestershire.

Membership of the Company of Saint Kyneburga recognises and honours service to the Diocese, usually over a very long period of time, by people in a variety of roles, lay and ordained.

This year’s new members are:

  • John Bellingham who has served St John the Baptist, Tredington for 60 years by cutting their grass. Faithful to his service in all weathers and throughout the year he has ensured that the churchyard always looks presentable. Sadly, due to ill health, John had to stop cutting the churchyard grass last year.
  • Bill Boon was born in Littleworth, Gloucester (now Gloucester Quays) and has been a part of the church almost his whole life. From boy chorister to churchwarden he has contributed enthusiastically to the life of the local church. In 1988 he was selected for non-stipendary ministry and then in 1992 he became stipendiary. Bill has served the churches of Matson, Brockworth and Sharpness (the latter for 24.5 years) and is due to retire in August 2022.
  • Anne Davies was Head of Barnwood Church of England Primary School for many years until retirement. Since then she has worked as a Bishop’s Visitor in Gloucestershire. She has been a long-term active member of St Andrews and St Bartholomew’s, Churchdown ministering in the parish as a Pastoral Visitor, supporting Home Communions, and on the Bereavement Team. She has made untold contributions to the lives of so many people and is an absolute inspiration to everyone who knows her.
  • Gareth Davies retired earlier this year after more than 30 years as headmaster of Holy Apostles Primary School. He is a long-time organist At St Andrew’s and St Bartholomew’s, Churchdown. He has also been Deputy Chair of the PCC for over fifteen years. As Headteacher in one of our church schools, he was enormously well respected and liked by all in the school community. He has also been a member of the Diocesan Board of Education, giving generously of his knowledge, skills and wisdom to shape the diocesan strategy for all of the Church Schools. He has also been a mentor for Headteachers new to Church schools.
  • Mike Edwards served the village of Guiting Power for over 30 years. As well as belonging to many community groups he was Churchwarden for most of those decades. He also served on both Deanery and Diocesan Synods. Mike has committed to improving the church building for more contemporary use, is an active, positive Christian presence in the community, has engaged in fundraising and building up our Benefice identity. He has also trained as a Worship Leader. Mike recently moved away from the village but will continue to serve in the deanery, but Guiting Power will really miss him!
  • Elizabeth Gledhill comes from what she calls a “clergy ridden family” – her great grand uncle, her grandfather, her uncle and her cousin were and are all clergymen. She has faithfully served the parish church at Cirencester for very many years. As Churchwarden she led the parish through a long vacancy. Elizabeth was the ‘prime driver’ for the £6 million Appeal for the restoration of the Parish Church and was in effect the Project Manager. She was described by her incumbent as ‘inspirational’ not only as Churchwarden in leading parishes forward but for her expertise and enthusiasm for the mission of the church.
  • Diana Lee-Browne is a talented organist who regularly plays at Kempsford Parish Church. She carefully and considerately chooses appropriate music and hymns for each season/occasion; is a skilled musician and encourages the choir to do their very best. Diana has also been a fine sculptress and was regularly commissioned to create beautifully crafted headstones and memorials which can be found in churches and churchyards across the South Cotswolds. She retired from this work in 2019 but leaves a legacy of skilful work that will outlive us all as they adorn these special places for years to come.
  • Liz Mitchell has served the Diocese of Gloucester as a Lay Reader, Spiritual Director and Distinctive Deacon. Before this, Liz had worked as a nurse and midwife in England and overseas. She is also very active with the Gloucester Association for Refugees and Asylum seekers (GARAS) and her home parish sponsor a refugee family, for which she is on the steering committee.
  • Colin Rank is known across the Diocese, having held the role of Chair of the Diocesan Board of Finance for several years. His calm demeanour and patience have eased many a tense meeting. A retired farmer and businessman, he remains fully involved in charitable work as a trustee and in church life, especially in his home Benefice of Thameshead. This includes taking the role of coordinating the care of the fabric of his local church, Kemble, where his foresight in introducing modern AV equipment has stood the benefice in good stead in these days of streamed services.
  • Gordon Savage has served St Peter’s Church in Haresfield for over half a century. He has cut the grass for 52 years as well as helping with projects inside the church. Always willing to lend a hand, his help and support have made a huge difference over the years. Aged 81 he now feels it’s time to step back a little bit but he still intends to help with the cleaning and the organ.

Members receive a Badge of Membership and will be invited to an annual service and reception in the Cathedral.

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