TWO church members from Worcestershire have received ‘Maundy Money’ from HM 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 our diocese and travelled to St George’s Chapel in Windsor to receive their money from HRH 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. He said: “I’m delighted that this year we are one again able to present the Maundy Money to people in person. It is always very moving to see such a large number of people receiving this token of appreciation from HM The Queen, who herself has given such extraordinary Christian service over so many years.”
Margaret Burston, 78 – member of St Stephen’s Church in Worcester
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 over 30 years, including completing a 4-year course and being Secretary of the national Verger’s conference for 12 years.
She said: “It is a lovely honour to receive the Maundy Money. 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. I’m not sure if I’m scared or excited about attending the service, but I am looking forward to receiving the money from Prince Charles – I just hope I don’t fall over!”
John Stanbury, 83 – member of Droitwich Methodist Church
John Stanbury was brought up as a Methodist and is a former preacher, working across different Methodist circuits for over 40 years. He was also Diocesan Secretary of the Diocese of Worcester for ten years in the 1990s.
John said: “I feel very honoured to have been chosen as a Maundy Money recipient. 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. I’ll be accompanied by my wife to the service, which I’m very much looking forward to – it’ll be quite different to our normal Methodist services.”
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.’