At the Annual Church Parochial Meeting in April, we learned that Peter-John Davies had decided to step down as Churchwarden after serving the Parish faithfully for seven years in the post. Peter-John had been a regular member of the congregation at Holy Trinity for many years, and was Chair of the Worship Group and organiser of the First Friday services when he was elected as Churchwarden in April 2016. At the time I was Churchwarden, and it was a pleasure and privilege for me to work alongside Peter-John. These were very exciting times at Holy Trinity. It was the year when we became involved in the Diocesan ‘Vision 2026’, the year in which work finally started following the very successful ‘Raise The Roof, Open The Door’ Appeal, and the year in which we took part in the ‘Crossroads Mission’. This led to our own ‘Healthy Church’ audit in early 2017, as a result of which we set our own ‘Mission Action Plan’. As a church, we decided that our priorities were :
- Spiritual Growth
- Community Engagement
- Developing Leaders
Peter-John took a leading role in all these activities, organising and chairing meetings, and always leading by example.
We wanted to develop varieties of worship – and Peter-John was involved with setting up the Second Sunday Service, Messy Church and continuing the First Friday services – all of which he continues to support with energy and enthusiasm. We wanted to be a welcoming church – and Peter-John certainly set the standard for welcoming new members of the congregation, stressing the importance of finding time to speak to newcomers – before and after the services – whilst always having time for a few words with the regular members too. We wanted to develop our work with young people – and Peter-John’s warm welcome to all our young people has made him one of the most easily recognised people at Holy Trinity.
When Covid struck, and churches had to close for services, it was a difficult time for everyone, but Rev Nancy, Peter- John and fellow Churchwarden Mary Bunting, were determined to ensure that regular worship should continue, and thanks to their efforts, we were able to take part in new forms of worship. Developing a Zoom link (with lots of technical help from Andy Williams and the Communications Team) helped us to get through the ‘lock down’ period – and continues to provide a vital link to those who cannot come to church. Then we were faced with an interregnum, when Rev Nancy decided to move on – and that is a really demanding time for Churchwardens. In addition to the huge amount of work to be done behind the scenes, as well as chairing the PCC, the Churchwardens must ensure that regular worship continues. Another aspect of our Mission Action Plan was to develop leaders, and Peter-John certainly stepped up to the plate by leading services himself and encouraging others to get involved in delivering services too. Peter-John’s services were always prayerful and sincere – he often spoke about those who ‘talked the talk’ and urged us to go on and ‘walk the walk’ as well – and he certainly led the way, proving a tremendous example of what it actually means to ‘walk the walk’. We owe a great deal to Peter-John and Mary for all they did, not just to ‘keep things ticking over’ during the interregnum, but also to make sure that things continued to develop, welcoming new people, and encouraging everyone to get involved and use their time and talents so that Holy Trinity would be a ‘healthy church’ when our new Vicar eventually arrived.
Peter-John has made a huge contribution to Holy Trinity as a Churchwarden – and all that with a very demanding full-time job as well! He will, I’m sure, continue to be involved in the life of the church – First Friday, Second Sunday, Messy Church, Men’s Breakfast, as well as all the regular services and events. As a congregation, we give thanks for all that Peter-John did as Churchwarden; we thank Mary for continuing her role as Churchwarden, and we welcome Jane Langton as our new Churchwarden, and wish her every success in the role.
And if you’ve ever wondered what Churchwardens do – well, according to the Canons of the Church of England, ‘churchwardens shall be foremost in representing the laity and in cooperating with the incumbent; they shall use their best endeavours by example and precept to encourage the parishioners in the practice of true religion and to promote unity and peace among them. They shall also maintain order and decency in the church and churchyard, especially during the time of divine service. The property, in the plate, ornaments and other moveable goods of the church, is vested in them, and they should keep an up-to-date inventory of these items, and deliver them to their successors.’ In other words, look after the Vicar, look after the people, and look after the building!
Churchwardens are elected annually with a recommended maximum of six consecutive terms of office. Peter-John served faithfully and prayerfully for seven years – not just ‘walking the walk’ – but also ‘going the extra mile’ (and the extra year!). Thank you, Peter-John.