CHURCH members from Worcestershire have received ‘Maundy Money’ from Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of their exemplary Christian service to church and community over many years.
Owing to the Coronavirus epidemic, they were unable to be a service in person this year and instead recipients received their money through the post. The money is distributed by HM the Queen every Maundy Thursday and she is normally assisted by Bishop John in his role as Lord High Almoner. It is traditionally given to the same number of men and women as the monarch’s age.
Bishop John said: “We are all very sad that, for the second year, the pandemic prevented HM the Queen giving Maundy recipients the Maundy money in person. They will, however, have received a personal letter from Her Majesty, together with the money, which is token of appreciation of their distinguished Christian service. The Queen has herself, of course, given extraordinary Christian service over a long lifetime.”
Among those to recieve the money was the Revd Ruth Wintle, 89 – member of St Thomas, Crown East in the Worcestershire West Rural Team.
Rev Wintle became a Deaconess in 1972 and was one of the first women in the Diocese of Worcester to be ordained, first Deacon in 1987 then Priest in 1994. She has served as a Tutor at St John’s College, Durham, as Selection Secretary to the Advisory Council for the Church’s Ministry (now Ministry Division), as Diocesan Director of Ordinands and as the Bishop’s Advisor on Women’s Ministry, as well as serving in parish ministry. Her gentle, faithful witness has encouraged many women to take on leadership roles and has moved many people who were once opposed to the ordination of women to accept and value it. She has been much in demand as a retreat leader and spiritual director
“I was excited and humbled to receive the Maundy Money. I was brought up as a Christian and my faith developed while at Clarendon School in Malvern. I then spent most of my working life in the Church. It was a great joy to receive the letter from Buckingham Palace and although I am disappointed not to be able to collect the money in person, I feel privileged to be honoured in this way,” she said.
Kevin Down, 82, a member of St George’s RC Church in Worcester has made a significant contribution to ecumenical relations in the City of Worcester for more than thirty years.
The organisation of ecumenical relations has undergone many changes over those years, and St George’s has had a succession of clergy, but Kevin has represented his church consistently and faithfully. Together with his wife, Heather, he has supported the Newman Association, encouraging participation from other denominations as well as from the Roman Catholic communities.
“I felt very honoured and surprised when I received the letter and the Maundy Money from HM the Queen. We moved to Worcester in 1980 and I have been involved with St George’s Church and our ecumenism work ever since – it’s vital that Christians seek to work in unity. I don’t mind that we don’t get to receive the money in person, it is the award that is important and I would like to say thank you to whoever nominated me,” he added.
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.’
Visit www.royal.uk to view a special film to mark the occasion.