Celebrating Margaret's 40 years of lay ministry

    Growing leaders
    16 July 2014

    Sunday 22nd June was a day of celebration for Margaret Williams at

    Christ Church, Swindon, beginning with a special service to mark 40 years of lay ministry.

    Margaret Williams 40 years of lay ministry

    Margaret Williams and Canon Simon Stevenette with (L to R) The Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Mrs Teresa Page, Mr Page, Bishop Lee, Canon Owen Barraclough, and Revd Janet House[/caption]

    Bishop Lee presided and Margaret preached at the service, which was also attended by the Mayor of Swindon, Councillor Teresa Page and Canon Stuart Taylor. The bell ringers rang a special peal for Margaret.

    Lunch in the community centre followed the service, with tributes paid to Margaret by the Mayor, MP Robert Buckland, Bishop Lee and Canon Simon Stevenette amongst others.

    This additional tribute to Margaret has been written by Diana Swann:

    "Margaret is a great supporter of ecumenism and is always to be seen at ecumenical events. The same would apply to events at Christ Church when, even if not feeling particularly like going out on a cold, dark, wet and windy night, she will be there supporting whatever is taking place.

    "Margaret is now in her 80s but her contribution to the community and church continues unabated: taking church services and school assemblies, (she is a natural story-teller and knows instinctively what will grab primary school childrenʼs attention); conducting funeral services, making pastoral visits, hospital visits and taking communion to folk in nursing homes and in their own homes, being a listening ear for people when they are feeling low, helping people to fill in forms they donʼt understand - the list is endless. Many of the funerals she takes are by special request from the bereaved families for her to take them.

    "When a job needs doing and there are no volunteers, Margaret will step in. My own experience is that when I was asked to produce the monthly magazine for the Old Town Partnership, I said I did not want to do this on my own but would welcome another person to be co-editor and Margaret willingly volunteered her services, in spite of already being a busy person; I value her assistance enormously.

    "Margaret is always there for people in distress, at any time of the day or night, and I know this from personal experience. When my husband was taken to hospital as an emergency and very seriously ill, I didnʼt leave the hospital until midnight and Margaret stayed up waiting for my phone call, to come and bring me home and give me words of comfort. There will be many people who can recount similar stories of Margaretʼs support.

    "In her sermon at the service to celebrate her 40 years of ministry, Margaret finished by saying “There is a prayer that we use sometimes at the end of the Communion Service, which I am very fond of:

    Send us out in the power of your spirit to live and work to your praise and glory

    . Margaret has certainly done that.

    "Margaret has given so much to so many people over the years and is still putting in enough hours to make it almost seem like a full time job. Her energy and enthusiasm and her willingness to always be available for people when in need are undiminished. She is a delightful person to be with; if you are feeling low in spirits, you are guaranteed to feel better for having been in her company!"