St Boniface Awards Service Shares Stories of Generosity and Joy
The Company of St Boniface welcomed 16 new companions on Saturday recognising work from transforming a school to quadrupling the reach of a foodbank.
The winners and their family member or friend were welcomed into Exeter Cathedral by the worship band from St Matt’s Exeter.
The Bishop of Exeter, The Right Reverend Robert Atwell began the ceremony with addressing the array of actions and accomplishments to be celebrated that evening.
Bishop Robert said “It’s been a devastating year for us all. I don’t think there is a family or a household in this land that hasn’t been affected by the virus.
“We all have stories to tell. But the stories we are telling today with these 16 new companions are stories of hope, stories of extraordinary resilience.
“Stories of generosity and joy and sacrificial service to neighbours, people in need, families in distress, schools trying to make a difference, caring for our environment.
In all these ways the stories that we will be hearing today in this service give testimony to the abundance of grace and hope and love that we see in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Each of the award winners were invited up to be interviewed by the Dean of Exeter, Johnathan Greener.
Annie Jefferies has worked tirelessly to build close links between St Peter’s church and the local school and has been a good friend to Venn House care home.
Annie is now developing a network of Anna Chaplains across Devon to offer pastoral support to people in later life and is chair of the House of Laity for Exeter Diocesan Synod.
In her interview, when asked ‘Since you have been doing this role what has most surprised you?’ Annie said, “I think how easily the clergy and the laity can work together with a real spirit of companionship and understanding.
“I still feel very in awe of the clergy, but I think as a team there is lots of very good work we can do together.”
The Bishop of Exeter said the award winners’ stories are “a testimony of the abundance of grace and hope and love that we see in the face of Jesus Christ”
The Bishop of Crediton, The Right Reverend Jackie Searle preached on the courage of St Boniface and how the medal in his name, honoured the courage of those receiving it that day.
“We have here before us today people who have summoned up their courage. People who have used their voices and their powers and their influence to make a difference.
“And who like St Boniface have kept going in the face of tests and difficulties. And these past 16 months have had so many challenges. And you inspire us. In the company of St Boniface, you are people who have chosen to be brave and to act.”
“Clergy and the laity can work together with a real spirit of companionship and understanding.”
Bishop Robert presented the sixteen new companions of St Boniface with their medals. View all of the winner’s biographies here.
Another opportunity to recognise courage and sacrificial service over the last year is coming on 4 July in National Thank You Day. For information and resources on how to get involved go to www.thankyouday.org.uk