Celebrating Margaret's 40 years of lay ministry

First published 16th 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 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. Thebell ringers rang a special peal for Margaret.

Lunch in the community centre followed the service, with tributes paid toMargaret by the Mayor, MP Robert Buckland,Bishop Lee andCanon 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. Thesame would apply to events at Christ Church when, even if not feeling particularly like going out on acold, 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 instinctivelywhat will grab primary school childrens attention); conducting funeral services, making pastoralvisits, hospital visits and taking communion to folk in nursing homes and in their own homes, being alistening ear for people when they are feeling low, helping people to fill in forms they dontunderstand - the list is endless. Many of the funerals she takes are by special request from thebereaved families for her to take them.

"When a job needs doing and there are no volunteers, Margaret will step in. My own experience isthat when I was asked to produce the monthly magazine for the Old Town Partnership, I said I didnot want to do this on my own but would welcome another person to be co-editor and Margaretwillingly 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 frompersonal experience. When my husband was taken to hospital as an emergency and very seriouslyill, I didnt leave the hospital until midnight and Margaret stayed up waiting for my phone call, to comeand bring me home and give me words of comfort. There will be many people who can recountsimilar stories of Margarets support.

"In her sermon at the service to celebrate her 40 years of ministry, Margaret finished by saying Thereis 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 hascertainly done that.

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

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