CHURCH members from Worcester and Droitwich were among those to receive ‘Maundy Money’ from the Queen in recognition of their exemplary Christian service to church and community over many years.
Margaret Burston from St Stephen’s Church in Worcester and John Stanbury from Droitwich Methodist Church were this year’s recipients from the diocese and travelled to St George’s Chapel in Windsor to receive their money from The Prince of Wales who was deputising for the Queen.
As Lord High Almoner, Bishop John was present at the service to help distribute the Maundy Money, which is traditionally given to the same number of men and women as the monarch’s age.
“It’s always very moving to see such a large number of people receiving this token of appreciation from the Queen, who herself has given such extraordinary Christian service over so many years,” he said.
Margaret has been verger at St Stephen’s Church since she moved to Worcester around 15 years ago, previously fulfilling a similar role in Malvern.
In total she has been a church verger for more than 30 years, including completing a four-year course and being secretary of the national verger’s conference for 12 years.
“When I received the letter, I thought ‘wow, why me?’! I have really enjoyed being a verger and it’s given me the opportunity to visit different cathedrals across the country,” she said.
John was brought up as a Methodist and is a former preacher, working across different Methodist circuits for more than 40 years. He was also Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Worcester for ten years in the 1990s.
“We’ve got a few of the coins on display in our church that have been donated by previous recipients and it never crossed my mind that I would be nominated,” he said.
The tradition of presenting alms on Maundy Thursday goes back to at least the 4th Century and in this country, the first record of the monarch doing it is in 1213.
The word ‘Maundy’ comes from the Latin word meaning ‘Commandment’. It was on this Thursday, the day before he died, that Jesus gave his disciples what he described as a new commandment: ‘that you should love one another as I have loved you.’