Parish Church Choir Sings at Cathedral Presentation
CHORISTERS from Tavistock Parish Church were invited to sing at a special service at Exeter Cathedral, in which 16 people from all over the diocese received awards honouring the Patron Saint of Devon.
They were presented with The Medal of St Boniface, conferred by the Bishop of Exeter in recognition of outstanding service to the Church and wider community. The event, on Saturday, July 23, was well attended and included the Bishop of Crediton and the Bishop of Plymouth. During the service Canon Deborah Parsons and Dr John Curtis interviewed the awardees, now regarded as Companions of St Boniface.
During the service Tavistock choir sang Psalm 150 Laudate Dominum (“O Praise God in His Holiness”), a chant by Charles Villiers Stanford and two anthems, Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd” (music by Howard Goodall) and Charles Wesley’s “O Thou Who Camest from Above” (music Philip Stopford). Mary Mazur Park played the organ for the service.
The Company of St Boniface was established in 2019 as a way of honouring those who have made a substantial contribution to the life of the Church in Devon, or who have built up overseas links in witness to Christ. In that year Devon County Council voted to adopt St Boniface as Patron Saint of Devon.
Born in Crediton around the year 675, Wynfrith was an Anglo Saxon who took the name Boniface when as a young man he entered the monastery in Exeter. A gifted Latin scholar and poet, he was ordained priest when he was 30 and in the year 716 offered himself as a missionary to Frisia, in northern Europe.
Boniface’s skill in preaching the Gospel led him to being commissioned by the Pope to work in Hesse and Bavaria, Germany. In 732 he was made Archbishop of Mainz and immediately appointed various missionary bishops to take forward the systematic evangelisation of central Europe. Today he is honoured as the ‘Apostle of Germany’ and is judged to have had a profound influence on European history and culture. He was murdered by pagan mercenaries on June 5, 754; June 5 now being his Feast Day.
A Winning Day for Church Fete
MORE than £2,800 was raised at Tavistock Parish Church’s 12th annual Summer Fete, held on the Church Green on one of the town’s busiest Saturdays of the year.
With the Farmers Market and Tavistock Fringe Festival also running over the road, there was a steady flow of visitors, who enjoyed a selection of stalls, sideshows and a children’s corner, with lunchtime music by Flute Cocktail and saxophonist Sarah Hunt. The event was opened by town mayor, Coun Paul Wood, and included a barbecue, tea, cakes and refreshments.
Anne Johnnson, new chairman of the organising Friends of St Eustachius’ Church, said: ‘It was an amazing day, with a great atmosphere and it was so lovely to be able to hold the fete as normal after Covid.’
Retiring Vicar Chris Bids a Sad Farewell
PARISHIONERS from Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor Benefice attended the last service of retiring vicar, the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick, at St Eustachius’ Church, on Sunday.
Vicar Chris conducted a Benefice Eucharist, which marked the Feast of St Luke the Evangelist, and included his personally chosen music, with Bruckner’s Locus Iste and Charles Wood’s O Thou the Central Orb, sung by the choir. Before the Blessing a presentation was made by members of Messy Church, with farewell tributes from around the diocese.
Afterwards a special lunch was held for Chris and his wife, Sarah, and family, at the Parish Centre, during which retirement gifts were presented. They included a cheque towards Chris’ choice of a sun dial, a painting by Hugh Davis, a faithful member of the congregation until he died earlier this year and a bouquet for Sarah.
After his six-and-a-half years’ ministry, Vicar Chris and his family are retiring to Cornwall, where he is looking forward to enjoying his interests, which include antiques and cookery.
“Vicar Chris” Looks Back on His Parish Ministry
THE Parish of Tavistock bids a sad farewell to the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick on Sunday, October 17, when he retires after nearly seven years as vicar of its four churches.
Vicar Chris, who holds his last service at St Eustachius’ Church on Sunday, October 17, said: ‘I have enjoyed the time here, met some really lovely people in the church and in the wider community. It’s true to say it’s a tremendous privilege to be a vicar, and in Tavistock, because you come to meet so many people in so many different ways; through the work you do in the Church, through the schools, the nursing homes, the civic links; not forgetting all our many visitors to the town, who are interested in what we are and in our history.’
He has loved sharing his time in the wider area, as vicar of the two Brentor churches, St Michael’s and Christ Church, and St Paul’s, Gulworthy, plus working with Tavistock Area Churches Together, which encompasses churches of different denominations.
Vicar Chris, soon to be 64, said he was particularly pleased to see many plans for St Eustachius’ come to fruition. Among them was the success of “Messy Church” for children and parents, the development of the choral tradition under choir director, Scott Angell, and the appointment of a Children and Families’ Worker, alongside the daily pattern of worship and prayer. A particular highlight had been the church’s 700-year anniversary in 2018, packed with events celebrating its past and future life.
‘I have been fortunate in having some good colleagues, both ordained and lay people and together we have built a large ministry team across our four churches. It has also been a privilege to train five new priests during my time here.’
He said Covid had had a dramatic effect on the Church’s ability to have a gathered community. ‘As a church we have worked hard to worship and pray together on-line and to care for one another in our community. As the restrictions are gradually easing our full pattern of worship and outreach is returning.’
Vicar Chris was pleased to report the successful completion of a number of church improvements, among them the replacement of the vestry roof, which was largely achieved through the “Sponsor a Tile” scheme. ‘People in the town have been very supportive’. He also mentioned St Eustachius’ new heating and sound system and said it was very close to upgrading the toilet and kitchen facilities – ‘Something the church has been planning for 25 years!’
He added: ‘All this has only been possible because of the way we work as a church community. I want to thank people for helping to make it happen.’
Vicar Chris, who comes from Lichfield, Staffordshire, was in banking for 15 years when, in his early 30s, he was “called” to the ordained ministry. He was ordained in Worcester in 1992, trained at Ripon College, near Oxford, later gaining a BA at the Open University, an MA in Pastoral Theology at Birmingham University and, ultimately, a PhD in Theology in 2000.
In the West Country he became Rector of St Mary’s, Truro, and Rural Dean, and chaired the Truro Diocesan Board of Education. At national ecclesiastical level he was elected to the Church of England’s General Synod in 2004 and served on the Church Commissioner’s pastoral, bishopric and cathedrals’ committee and board of governors.
Looking back on his “calling”, he said: ‘I was called to leave something behind and follow a vocation into the Church. It proved to be the right thing. You go from a well-established career into the unknown. You don’t know whether you will be licensed, there are no guarantees. It’s a discernment process. You leave behind what you do. It has been a very fulfilling calling.’
Chris and his wife, Sarah, have five children and are planning to move to Cornwall for his retirement. He is looking forward to spending his leisure time pursuing his interests, which include cooking – many will remember his fund-raising cookery demonstration at the Parish Centre, in – and visiting antiques fairs.
He said: ‘My family and I will miss Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brentor and I will continue to hold everyone in our thoughts and prayers.’
Vicar Chris will not be immediately replaced, by Church tradition the Parish will have an “interregnum” during which a priest will be selected. The four churches will continue with the present ministry team, which, following their ordination by the Bishop of Exeter, at St Eustachius’, last Saturday (September 24), now includes the Revs Rosie Illingworth and Hazel Butland.
(from a press release by Juliette Bowers, church Press Officer).
Parish Welcomes Newly-Ordained Priests
PRIESTS Rosie Illingworth and Hazel Butland were ordained by the Bishop of Plymouth, the Right Rev Nick McKinnel, at Tavistock Parish Church, last Saturday (September 25).
Trained by the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick, they are now serving as assistant curates at Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor, within the Tavy Mission Community.
Rosie (pictured right), from rural Northamptonshire, said her calling to the priesthood was inspired by her working experiences after school. She had done a one-year placement as a volunteer at Launde Abbey, in Leicestershire, where she said, ‘I was a general dogsbody, washing up and doing lots of odd jobs, but I got to meet with so many people and see a different side to the Church of England.
‘Over the course of that year I began to realise that I loved holding space with people in worship. People would come to me and tell me their stories. We would work out where God might be for them. It inspired me to explore ordination’.
Rosie was accepted for ordination training, but wanting to feel 100 per-cent sure, decided to take a job in mental health with the NHS Devon Partnership Trust. She valued the work she did there, but after two years was more confident in her exploration of ministry. She went to Cranmer Hall Theological College, Durham, to study a Master of Arts in Theology and Ministry.
Following her ordination, Rosie said she was looking forward to welcoming people into the church community. ‘I’d love for our worship to be more accessible to children, families and those who’ve not been to church for a very long time, or maybe even ever.
‘I’d love to join in with everything that’s going on in our communities which contributes to making them all the vibrant places that they are’.
Hazel said being ordained alongside Rosie and singing God’s praises with so many others for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, was “a real joy”.
Writing in “Reflections” on the parish website, she explained that before the service she and Rosie had been on retreat at Sheldon, near Exeter. The speaker, during his last reflection, read out words from the third verse of Charles Wesley’s hymn, O Thou Who Camest from Above, which go, “Jesus confirm my heart’s desire to work and speak and think for thee…”
Said Hazel, ‘I immediately remembered the moment when singing these words had choked me up so much, I had had to stop singing during a Pentecost service 12 years ago. Even more embarrassing as I was one of the only people around me singing!
‘I had retired early from General Practice following a difficult cancer journey. I longed to serve God more fully in my retirement for as long as I remained well, but there appeared to be no openings. I had become very disillusioned.
‘But those words were powerful. They were my prayer and God honoured them. Within a month of singing those words I had begun the amazing and exhilarating journey towards ministry, initially as a Licensed lay Minister in the Oxford Diocese and now priestly ministry in and around Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor’.
On Sunday, October 17, Rosie and Hazel will be among the congregation at the last service of Vicar Chris, before his retirement.
(from a press release by Juliette Bowers, church Press Officer).
Xmas Tree Festival Celebrates Record Response Following Thefts
FOLLOWING two thefts from Tavistock Parish Church’s Xmas Tree Festival, individuals and businesses have rallied round to give generously – and the icing on the cake was a jar containing £208 from nine-year-old schoolgirl, Abbi Jillians.
When Abbi heard about the theft of a large bell-shaped jar containing more than £100 from a table at the church entrance on the Advent Carol Service evening, she decided to put her own pocket money in a jar to help replace what was stolen. Her mum, Julie, then put it on her stall in the Pannier Market for shoppers who wished to add to it, and mother and daughter presented the takings to vicar Chris Hardwick.
Julie Jillians said: ‘Abbi has done really well. She has expressed how much she loves this church. It was where she was christened so it’s pretty important to her.
Abbi Jillians pictured with vicar Chris Hardwick.
As news of the theft spread, the community responded generously. Judy Hannaford-Hirst, vice-chairman of The Friends of St Eustachius’, who organised the event, said: ‘We are heartened and exceedingly grateful for all the donations that have been given to The Friends to compensate for what was stolen and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed.’
A heart-warming response was also received by festival exhibitor, Jean Keast, the Devon representative for Pancreatic Cancer, after her donation box went missing from the base of the charity’s Xmas tree, on the festival’s last afternoon. Jean reported £400 in donations made via “Just Giving” on the Internet.
In the last ten years The Friends have raised more than £110,000 from the Xmas Tree Festival and on this, their 11th year, the total was £16,800 – 17.5% up on the record.
Judy said: ‘We are absolutely delighted with this record amount. The support and generosity of the community of Tavistock has been outstanding- a sincere “thank you” from the Friends of St Eustachius.
‘The Xmas Tree Festival is our biggest event of the year and all monies raised go towards enhancing, beautifying and maintaining the fabric of the church.’
Pictured with a cake donated by Cakes, Bakes and Shakes, of West Street, is Barbara Miller (left), who runs the church’s Friendly Fridays fund-raising group, vicar Chris Hardwick, and Joanna Steevenson, who has recently taken on the church’s Fund-Raiser role.
*In November the Friendly Friday’s group raised nearly £4,400 at their church bazaar at the town hall. Besides their weekly coffee mornings this year, they have also held two pasty lunches and an afternoon tea with a clothes sale.
Vicar Chris said: ‘Those who so kindly give to the church and those who work hard to fund-raise for it are its life force, with everyone sharing that one common aim, and that is to see the church thriving, as it continues to serve the community long into the future.’
A farewell message from Steven Martin
Thank you for putting up with me these past 4 years or so! It has been a great privilege serving the parishes of Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor and, latterly, Mary Tavy and Peter Tavy. I have valued every moment. You have all, in different ways, shaped and formed my ministry and priesthood in such a way that I know that I leave here on the surest footing I could have hoped for. I could not have wished for a better training incumbent or for better colleagues to work with. We have been truly blessed.
We leave the parishes with far more than we came with, including lots of happy memories and two small children! So much has happened to me since I came here. I am so grateful for all you have given and all that we have shared together.
After my last service at Tavistock we enjoyed a wonderful lunch at which we were given lots of gifts. These included some lovely flowers for Caroline and a picture map and a large amount of money—which we shall keep to spend on a special piece of furniture for the new vicarage—and a beautiful icon. Thank you for all of these things.
The icon was written by Cheryll Kinsley Potter, an artist and iconographer who lives in Tavistock. One of her recent commissions was an icon for the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, for the Chapel of Magdalene College, Cambridge. The icon Cheryll has kindly and beautifully written for me is the ‘Panmakaristos’ or ‘the Virgin of the Passion’. The Virgin Mary holds the Christ child who looks timorously at the angels bearing the instruments of the Passion. It follows the iconography of the Cretan School of Andreas Ritzos (d. c. 1492) who is famous for his large icons of the Virgin of the Passion, executed according to Byzantine tradition and schemes.
Thank you very much indeed for the very generous and meaningful gift of this icon. Cheryll is such an excellent artist and it is the most perfect gift I could have been given. Icons are not simply pictures, but resources, aids and inspiration for prayer. It will be with me always and I shall use the icon to aid my prayers and will remember you, the wonderful parishes I served during my curacy in Tavistock, each time I look at it.
As our ways part, may God continually bless and keep you in the power of his eternal love.
Steven’s last service ended with a celebration of the work he has done in the parish since the start of his training when the children led a special song for the occasion together with a number of surprises, including a short rendition of the Hallelujah chorus from the choir to bubbles from the children.
Departing Clergyman’s Son Baptised
BEFORE leaving Tavistock Parish Church to begin a new ministry, Assistant Curate, the Reverend Dr Steven Martin and his wife, Caroline, had their son, John, baptised at the church on Sunday 22 September.
Steven was ordained priest at Exeter Cathedral on 24 September 2016, and it was almost three years to the day when he himself christened his and Caroline’s first son, Henry, whilst presiding at his first ever Eucharist service at the Tavistock Church of St Eustachius.
Steven has been training incumbent under Vicar Chris, in the benefice of St Eustachius’, St Paul’s, Gulworthy and Christchurch and St Michael de Rupe, Brent Tor.
Next month parishioners will be saying a sad farewell to the Martin family when Steven takes up a new ministry as Rector of the Holyford Mission Community and Priest-in-Charge of the Parish of Northleigh, in south-east Devon. His last service at Tavistock Church is on Sunday 6 October.
Assistant Curate Steven Martin, wife Caroline and first son Henry (pictured right) during the service with vicar Chris Hardwick and godparents.
Church’s Golden Welcome for Former Parish Vicar John and Wife Janette
A former navy chaplain who was vicar of Tavistock Parish Church for 14 years, the Venerable John Rawlings, and his wife, Janette, were welcomed back for a special service on Sea Sunday, Sunday 14 July.
John, who had left St Eustachius’ in 2006 to become Archdeacon of Totnes, returned with his wife, Janette, not only to join in prayers for those on the sea, but also to receive a blessing from vicar, the Very Reverend Dr Chris Hardwick, to mark their Golden Wedding Anniversary two days previously.
The couple were widely remembered and warmly welcomed by communicants. John helped officiate at the service and Vicar Chris also presented them with a bouquet to celebrate the occasion. They also received a framed picture of Tavistock life and history, which by coincidence was created by someone they had known since the 1970s in a former parish, who now lives in the town.
John was a naval chaplain for 16 years, latterly based in Plymouth and Dartmouth. He served as Tavistock vicar for 14 years, before becoming Archdeacon of Totnes, responsible for 156 churches and 80 clergy in an area from Hatherleigh to the South Hams and Torbay.
Janette, a vicar’s daughter herself, played an active role at St Eustachius’. As a member of the handicraft group, with others she made the altar frontal, vestments and pew cushions. She organised three flower festivals and catering for The Exon Singers’ annual visits.
Talking of their special time in Tavistock, John said: ‘With me being the vicar and Janette working as a practice nurse at Abbey Surgery, we knew practically everybody here – today has been very special for both of us. Tavistock and its people remain hugely in our affections and memories.’
The couple, who have two children, Mark and Clare, and five grandchildren, were due to celebrate their golden wedding with their family in Salisbury, the following weekend.
Bishop Confirms Seven Candidates
SEVEN candidates were confirmed at Tavistock Parish Church by the Bishop of Crediton, the Right Reverend Jackie Searle, at a special service with Holy Communion, on Sunday 23 June. They included Rosalie (Rosie) Allen, Allanha Wills and Heidi Lewis, Adewole Adekoya, Adeolu Adekoya and Rosie Warren (from Mount Kelly) and Kate Leeves (Milton Abbot). A bouquet was also presented by the vicar, the very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, to Heidi Lewis, who has been accepted for the Church Army.
Photo Album Celebrates St Eustachius’ 700th Centenary Year
A Photo Album of St Eustachius’ Church showing 700 centenary events will shortly be available to view at the back of the church. The hard-backed, 28cm x 21cm, full colour, glossy, landscape book was designed by Juliette Bowers and is printed by Bonusprint. Anyone interested in ordering a copy can either see Juliette in church or leave her your contact details in the “B” pigeon hole, again at the back of the church. An exact cost cannot be quoted just yet as the more orders she takes the less it will cost!
Should anyone wish to view the book online this is the link to follow View your online Photo Book
or alternatively email Juliette at: email@example.com
Chris’s Cookery Demonstration
On Saturday 23 February our taste buds were titillated by the culinary skills of our talented vicar.
A packed parish centre was treated to the secrets of:-
Ricotta stuffed courgette rolls with toasted pine nuts
Broccoli soup with goat’s cheese and walnuts
Crispy salmon with a warm potato and crab salad
Beef Wellington with a black truffle duxelle (see above)
Deconstructed vanilla cheesecake with a berry compot
With the following wine recommendations:-
Sparking pinot noir
“Dark Horse” chardonnay (USA)
Marlborough pinot grigio (New Zealand)
Thanks to Chris for a most entertaining evening (it is quite a challenge to cook and crack jokes at the same time!), and to Sarah for her support, sous chef skills, and hard work behind the scenes. £637 were raised for church funds.
Artist Maps Tavistock in Pictures to Help Parish Church
Artist Terry Townson has captured Tavistock in a beautifully designed A3 picture map, with limited edition prints and cards on sale in aid of St Eustachius’ Parish Church.
Produced in watercolours and pen and ink, the map shows historic landmarks, including the church, the town hall and St Francis Drake’s statue, besides lesser known ones, among them St John’s holy well, a Devon World Heritage window in the town hall and the Honour Oak, which marked the boundary of parole for French Prisoners during the Napoleonic War.
The map also features items of personal appeal to Terry, bird boxes, mallards, swifts, buzzards and Devon bluebells, to name a few.
Londoner Terry (pictured with St Eustachius’ vicar, Chris Hardwick) moved down country to Gunnislake in the Eighties and then Tavistock last year. She was inspired by a map she had done previously for Sidmouth Parish Church in 2009, with sales of prints and cards proving a great success.
‘Because there is such a lot of history in Tavistock, and having done a picture map for Sidmouth, I wondered what I could do to help St Eustachius,’ she said, adding: ‘Whatever I do, it always has something to do with my faith.’
Designing the map was no easy task. Having consulted books by the town’s historians, including Gerry Woodcock and Simon Dell, she found she had more than enough material.
She explained: ‘I had pages and pages of history but didn’t have the space to put it all in. I had to measure it – some pictures are condensed six times. I had to pack in as much as I could.’
Terry’s signed and mounted prints and cards are available at St Eustachius’ Church Friday coffee mornings, Tavistock Museum, the Bedford Hotel, Bookstop and other shops in the town.
A Huge “Thank You” to Co-op Shoppers
Charity donations totalling £5,313.47 were gratefully received from Tavistock Co-op by Chris Hardwick and the Parish Giving Officer, David Parkin, at a presentation ceremony, on Saturday, November 24.
St Eustachius’ was one of the Co-op’s chosen charities for the year and the Church would like to say a big thank-you to the Co-op for their generosity and also to their members who signed up to the scheme in order that the church could receive the benefit of their purchases. With the constant pressure of costs such donations are invaluable and greatly appreciated. Again many thanks to all concerned.
Pictured left to right are
Darren Bishop – Store Manager Coop Market Street
The Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick – Vicar of Tavistock
Ann Parkin – Parishioner
David Parkin – Parish Giving Officer
Jo Arnold – Store Manager Coop Brook Street
Sam Hould – Team Manager Coop Brook Street
Parish Church’s 48th Xmas Bazaar, thanks to Ruby!
STALLHOLDER Ruby Ditcher, who started Tavistock Parish Church’s annual Xmas Bazaar 48 years ago, is still playing an active part – helping man the jewellery and accessories stall at Saturday’s event at the town hall.
Organiser Barbara Miller said: ‘Ruby continues to be an active member of the church after 48 years and still contributes by running a stall. She is amazing and we cannot thank her enough.’
She added: ‘The bazaar not only raises money but is part of our outreach to bring the church to the community. Thank you to everybody – the helpers, the promoters, the buyers, also to our coffee morning visitors. Our success was an all-round effort from virtually every group within the church.’
PHOTO: Ruby Ditcher, left, with Tavistock mayor and mayoress, Councillor Paul and Jane Ward, and St Eustachius’ Church vicar Chris Hardwick and his wife Sarah.
Crafters’ Illuminating Ideas for Christmas
CRAFTERS at Tavistock Parish Church are lighting the way for Christmas gift ideas.
Church candle wax used for cup and saucer novelties are among an array of items they are busy recycling for St Eustachius’ Bazaar at the town hall, which was held on Saturday 17 November.
Knitters Janet Kennerley and Ruth Glanville are in the craft group which meets in the parish centre fortnightly on Wednesday afternoons to stitch over cups of tea.
‘We could call it sew, knit and natter’, said Ruth. ‘It’s very good because people who are on their own can come along – we welcome everybody, even if they are not big crafters.’
The group’s wares vary from Christmas ‘pressi’ bags, soft toys, wreaths and hangings, to gift tags, recycled cards and sideboard decorations.
The knitters regularly run a stall at St Eustachius’ ‘Friendly Fridays’ coffee mornings and so far this year have raised £635 for church funds. Janet, a chorister, and Ruth also sell cards they make from recycled ones, following Sunday morning services.
Janet believes the craft group was started more than 20 years ago by the wife of the then vicar, John Rawlings, making cushions for the pews. Ruth said they were grateful to people who kept the members going with wool, cards and other materials.
Congratulations to the team who achieved a full peal of 5039 changes of Grandsire Caters this afternoon, Sunday 11 November 2018. It took exactly 3 hours and 20 minutes.
The peal was rung to commemorate the ending of the First World War, 100 years ago, and to celebrate the 700th anniversary of St Eustachius’ church.
Thank you for a very successful Vestry Roof Campaign
Those who supported Tavistock Parish Church’s Sponsor a Slate campaign helped to raise a fantastic £17,000 towards re-roofing the church vestry, enabling the work to be completed before winter.
The roof had been leaking for some time and, with last winter being so wet, restoration work was urgently needed to prevent further damage to choir robes, music and other essential worship items stored inside. The anticipated cost was a staggering £84,000, but The Friends of St Eustachius’ agreed to underwrite up to half the cost, which enabled the work to begin.
However there was still a considerable shortfall, and in the spring the idea of sponsoring a slate campaign was launched, inspired by a similar project at Truro Cathedral. It was led by Plymouth resident, Tom Smith, who offered to take the reins after an appeal was made at a church service.
Individuals, families and groups were invited to sponsor and sign a slate, or part of one, donating up to £25 for each – and the community rose to the occasion admirably. The work was finally completed in August. Now all sponsors can walk past the vestry, assured that their slates are not only keeping out the weather, but their signatures beneath are part of a time capsule which in years to come will reveal who helped to make the restoration work possible. People’s generosity is also recorded in a book kept in the vestry.
Christopher Hardwick said: “Tavistock Parish Church stands as a testament to the place of God in our community and proclaims that story to our town and far beyond. Personally, and on behalf of the Church, I want to thank the many individuals, families and community groups who have supported this urgent campaign and made the restoration of the vestry roof possible. Different periods in our history have always presented the Church with different challenges, and in our 700th Anniversary year, the successful completion of a project such as this has only been possible because of the hard work, dedication, and generous financial support of so many. Thank you to all.”
The project, which started in April, overran by several weeks because of unforeseen building problems. After work began it was discovered that the vestry roof adjoining the mid-19th century church sacristry was leaking because of deterioration in the mortar between the granite coping and the top of the walls (built of locally quarried Hurdwick stone). Also, there was no damp proof course between the walls and timber roof trusses, which had caused rot. The extra work added another £9,500 to the bill.
Additionally unforeseen in the planning was the extension of the roof chimney in readiness for a replacement (condensing) boiler as part of a new central heating system proposed for the church. Under canon law this required a church faculty.
Photo taken by Ossie Palmer
Head of Fabric Nick Clark, who oversaw the project, commended the three companies involved in the work (JB Roofing Services, GK Worden Scaffolding and Tinhay) for their quality of workmanship and “great favours, in helping the church to save considerable money.”
CEMENTING WORSHIP: Labouring under certain difficulties during the vestry roof restoration, members of St Eustachius’ Church choir welcome the presence of a cement mixer in the corner as they practise for morning service. The choristers are happy to share their home with building site equipment in the knowledge that (hopefully) when the repair work is completed, their robes will still be wearable for worship!
Another First for Tavistock in Dementia Action week!
On Friday 25 May, Pauline Stewart, National Chair of the Arts Society Church Trails Group opened the first Church Trail in the country at St Eustachius Parish Church by presenting a copy to the Very Reverend Dr Chris Hardwick. This is a Trail around the church which has been specially written for use by those living with dementia with their carers and is intended as a way of stimulating memory and making outings to the church more interesting for them.
Members representing the Arts Society were present when some members of Tavistock Memory Café put the trail into use for some of their members who enjoyed the experience.
The concept was created by Tim Jones of Wadebridge on behalf of the Arts Society and it is hoped that this template will be used to create many other Church Trails throughout the country in the future.
Double celebration for the Reverend Sue Tucker
MOTHERING Sunday was cause for double celebration at St Eustachius’ Church as the Reverend Sue Tucker was presented with a bouquet of flowers for her 70th birthday following a joyful service which she led.
Reverend Sue delighted adults and children alike conducting her sermon from her ironing board and the occasion was particularly poignant as she is a mother of two children, three step-children, two grandchildren, 11 step grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Receiving her flowers, she said: ‘I really recommend becoming 70 as all sorts of amazing things happen!’
Sue, assistant curate, is pictured after the service with husband Roy, assistant curate, the Reverend Dr Steven Martin, and his wife, Caroline, with son, Henry.
Dartmoor Search and Rescue (Tavistock) Celebrate 50 Years with Church Service
Town mayor, Councillor Philip Sanders, presented a plaque via the team’s deputy Pete Swaine, marking the town’s gratitude for the team’s service. The team also received the tungsten award for 50 years of support to Ten Tors.
Team chairman, Rhod Davey, led the celebrations, telling the team’s story over the years. Members exhibited their kit and the congregation watched the first public viewing of the team’s new film. Refreshments were provided by the Friends of St Eustachius.
(Award photo: Robert Parkin, Group photo, Nigel Singleton)
St Eustachius’ “Mr Fabric” Goes to the Rescue
HEAD of St Eustachius’ fabric team, Nick Clark, plays two vital roles in the community – maintaining the 700-year-old building, and finding missing people as a volunteer with Dartmoor Search and Rescue.
Nick oversees seven volunteers, who turn their hand to everything from clearing leaves from the roof and replacing light bulbs, to erecting Christmas trees for the December festival and the stage for last year’s Passion Play. For greater tasks, such as the re-roofing of the vestry in the spring, they oversee local contractors.
Away from the demands of the church, Nick spends many hours each week training with his Collie, Jess, and since qualifying for Dartmoor Search and Rescue two years ago, has attended 58 call-outs. He is also secretary of the team, and sometimes his commitments can mean seven days a week.
Nick, 58, is more often seen at Sunday Evensong because during the day he and Jess spend four hours training with other dog handlers from the South West Region. Once a month they travel to different parts of the country to further their skills with the Search and Rescue Dogs Association (SARDA), their most recent in the Lake District. On Thursday mornings, too, a friend acts as a body for Jess to find.
He said: ‘The navigation skills are, in my opinion, superb. In order to pass the qualification assessment for the team you have to prove you can navigate with greater precision than anything I had to do in 32 years in the Army.’
He recalled a near midnight call-out last July, when a man in his 50s had gone missing after leaving a note. His car had been found at Two Bridges and five searchers spread out at regular intervals. Eventually, the team navigator in the centre position spotted a figure at Littaford Tor. Nick, as Casualty Carer, called in the team leader, using a priority radio message, and assessed the man, who had numerous cut to his wrists. With him was an empty bottle of scotch and two empty pill packs. Nick then called team Welfare Officer, Andy Barton, who is also a chaplain at Derriford Hospital, to attend the man’s emotional distress whilst he concentrated on the man’s medical condition. The man was then taken to hospital.
Nick said: ‘I cannot over emphasise how thorough SARDA are in their training. Everybody has to be qualified in mountain rescue for at least a year. Assessment is of a universal standard throughout the country and to pass, the handler and dog team have to succeed in five assessments. It’s not easy.’
Jess, who as ‘a failed sheepdog’ makes an ideal trainee for Dartmoor Search and Rescue, is halfway through her 18-month course. He said: ‘Jess and I can spend every day together. I read her and she reads me. She is a wonderful dog in many ways, though relatively nervous and lacking in confidence compared to her peers – I have to develop that.’
To qualify in mountain rescue Nick’s experience more than fits the bill. He was in the Royal Engineers, serving in many countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Macedonia and Northern Ireland. For eight years he was in bomb disposal.
He explained: ‘After the Brighton bomb in 1984 Margaret Thatcher instructed that the army should teach police forces all they knew about searching for bombs in Northern Ireland. I was tasked with forming the first joint Military and Police Search Training Team, which has grown over the years to become the Police National Search Centre’.
He is modest about any fears he might have experienced. ‘Bomb disposal is enormously rewarding, but as a job it is an exercise in technical logic. You don’t attempt to disarm a device until you know exactly how it works and to do that you have a fantastic array of equipment available.’
Nick had a Christian upbringing, which included independent boarding school, and was confirmed at university. When asked whether his faith prompted his lifestyle choices, he said: ‘I am not sure my faith drives my motivation. It is driven by Christian values. I think I am Deist rather than Christian – Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly on God.’
Evensong is Nick’s ‘Sunday evening ritual’, where, he says, ‘I can be close to my mum and dad’. He added: ‘I admire greatly the contribution St Eustachius’ makes to the local community and I enjoy the music. We are extremely lucky to have such a devoted and talented choir.’
Now retired, Nick enjoys being involved in voluntary work and being able to pick and choose his pursuits. He said: ‘I had never been part of a local community for more than two years at a time and I feel very pleased to have settled in Tavistock, fulfilling the expectations of being part of a community – it’s perfect.’
*St Eustachius’ Church’s fabric team meets regularly on Monday mornings and welcome more volunteers. If you are interested please contact the Parish Office on 01822-616673.
Feature Stories 2017
Two Crib Services Welcome Everyone
TWO live nativity services are to be held at St Eustachius’ Parish Church, Tavistock, on Christmas Eve at 4 pm and 6 pm, such is their popularity.
There will be the journey to Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph and the donkey, the arrival at the inn, Jesus’ birth in the stable, the angelic host and the shepherds with their sheep.
Assistant Curate, the Reverend Sue Tucker said:
“It would be really lovely if the children dressed up in their nativity costumes, which they have from their nativity services at school, and as we retell the story of the nativity, they would all have a part to play. If you do not have a costume please just come as you are. Everyone is very welcome to join us as we re- tell the story of this very special night when we greet the baby Jesus, born to be the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace and the Light of the World.”
NINTH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE FESTIVAL OPENS AT TAVISTOCK PARISH CHURCH
The trees will be all aglow for the launch of St Eustachius’ Church’s 700th anniversary celebrations at its Advent Carol Service, at 6 pm on Sunday 3 December.
The ten-day festival, which begins the night of the town’s Dickensian Evening, will be opened by Tavistock mayor, Councillor Philip Sanders. As usual, thousands of people are expected to view the spectacular. Since the festival opened in 2008, nearly 70,000 visitors have viewed more than 450 trees, decorated by nearly 200 different local organisations and £77,000 has been raised towards the church’s upkeep.
The event will include music, stalls selling festive wares, coffee, teas and cakes and soup and toasted sandwich lunches.
Thanking all those who have helped make the event possible, The Vicar, the Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, said, ‘Inspired by the imagination of local people and organisations, I hope you will enjoy the festival and come to see something of the joy of Christmas being celebrated in our parish church, and reflected in the life of our town and community.’
The festival, which runs until Sunday 10 December will be open from 10 am to 4.30 pm daily, except Wednesday 11.30 am to 6.30 pm and Sundays, after services.
Filling Christmas with Festive Delight
She is one of several church members busy knitting festive items to hang on the tree or play with as finger puppets. Since August she has made 40, which include Santas, snowmen, soldiers, dogs and teddies.
Nichola is a Sacristan at St Eustachius’ Church and among her creations is a collection of figures representing the Last Supper, used by the children’s Vestry Group.
She enjoys knitting during the evenings while listening to the radio or music and said: “People are very generous, leaving bags of wool outside my door. I never know what I am going to find when I get home.”
The church’s 43rd annual bazaar will be opened by Tavistock Mayor, Councillor Philip Sanders, at 10.30 am. A variety of stalls will sell everything from cakes, free trade goods, toiletries and crafts, to good quality clothing, bric-a-brac, paintings, puzzles, toys and games.
Other attractions will include the ever popular Vicar’s Whisky raffle, which is held every half an hour, tombola and a guess the name of “The Traveller” competition. A local artist’s painting of the church will also be raffled.
At 2 pm hand bell ringers will perform in the parish hall, which is across Plymouth Road. Proceeds are for the fabric of the church, which celebrates its 700th anniversary in 2018.
Dairy Farmer’s Wife is Ordained Deacon
Judith, who will be serving as an assistant curate in the Benefice of Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor, was one of 14 Ordinands to be licensed at a special service by Bishop Robert. For the occasion Judith was joined by members of her church, St Eustachius, Tavistock, and Brentor Church.
At Tavistock Parish Church’s Evensong, Judith was warmly welcomed to the benefice by the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick, who presented her with a stole from Gulworthy church members, whose collection will also contribute towards a Home Communion set.
Judith has been a member of the Church all her life, serving both as a Sunday school teacher and Parochial Church Council secretary. She was originally a member of St Mary’s Church, Brixton, near Plymouth, where she was born, moving to Gulworthy in 1983.
She said: ‘The thought of serving God as a priest has been a growing calling and wasn’t undertaken lightly.’
Initially, she had to go through a discernment process and then face an advisory panel. Once accepted, she began her journey to the priesthood with South West Ministry Training and has another year’s work before achieving her goal.
‘Being under the supervision of Chris Hardwick is a huge privilege and I welcome also the experience and support of the ministry team, which includes deacon the Rev Sue Tucker, being ordained priest later this month.
In more earthly matters Judith works on the farm with husband Peter, their son, Philip and daughter-in-law Sally and runs a B and B. The couple also have a daughter, Helen, son-in-law Dave and three grandchildren.
Photo caption: Newly ordained deacon, the Rev Judith Blowey, wearing the stole she received at her ‘welcome to the benefice’ service
Vicar’s Plea for Parish Church
An appeal has been made to the community to help secure the future of Tavistock Parish Church as it prepares to celebrate its 700th anniversary next year.
Vicar, the Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, speaking at a buffet supper attended by 150 guests at the town hall on Friday 14 July, said: ‘Moving forward we face a challenge. Last year it cost the church £174,000 to do all that we did, but with total income of £155,000 a year, we have a funding gap. It is a shortfall of £19,000 a year –that is £365 every week, nearly £52 every day.
‘We are entirely self-financing and receive no financial support from the government, or the national church, or from endowments, and so we are looking as a matter of urgency to bridge that gap’.
He stressed that the church was working hard to reduce its deficit and for its anniversary its priority was to eliminate the existing deficit to secure a firm, financial footing for the future. ‘To do this we need your help, please, to add to the support of those within the church. Can we dig deep?’
The supper, to launch a new programme for St Eustachius’ called “The Way Ahead – Supporting Your Parish Church”, included a sit-down meal, slideshow, musical entertainment by the choir and vocal and piano duo Gin and Pimms, plus guest speaker, Canon Dr John Rea. James Teague gave an overview of finances and Katie Stevenson spoke about the Community Giving Scheme.
Dr Hardwick said church organisers were optimistic about the future and funds were already set aside for the first phase of the 700th Anniversary project; to make the vestry roof watertight. He also outlined aims for a longer term re-ordering plan, which include the provision of a new galley and toilets and an improved heating, electrical and sound system; enhancing the church’s musical provision through a new chorister/organ scholarship scheme; an enhanced programme of concerts and events; re-instating access to the church via the tower using landscaping and a lych-gate to “re-connect” the church to West Street.
He added: ‘Other plans to mark our 700th anniversary through a variety of church and community events are progressing well and will happen – 2018 promises to be a busy and exciting year!’
James Teague, a Tavistock businessman, said: ‘This is about building a community. It’s about everybody. I am not a religious person and am not part of the worship – I don’t come from a religious sect at all. I have been working with St Eustachius’ for some years helping to optimise our income – our finances are under control as much as they can possibly be.
‘We can’t re-order the church if we are just about managing. The bread and butter is just about managing, so this is about the cream.’
Anyone wishing to support St Eustachius’ Church is invited to contact the Parish Office on 01822-61667, email firstname.lastname@example.org or view more details at the church.
Busy Sewing Bees are Buzzing for Church Fete
A GROUP of crafty recyclers are ‘sew busy’ making quality items for Tavistock Parish Church’s summer fete next month – while helping to save the planet!
Calling themselves Vintage Green, they use old, unwanted and donated materials to make anything from quilts, cushions and aprons, to bags, cards and craft gifts. Since joining forces four years ago they have raised over £5,000 for St Eustachius’ Church and hope to add another good sum from their next stall.
With years of experience between them, the crafters have all the makings of a successful ‘church family’ business, spending much of their spare time in production.
One of five members, Sarah Pendle said by using recycled, old and unwanted items from the environment, the group was supporting the church and God’s creation.
‘We produce high quality items, unique and limited edition – goods you would look to buy in a shop. We are very purposeful about it and want people to appreciate what we do and pay a fair price.’
Another member, Pat Knock explained: ‘We have a production line – I do the pinning, cutting out, ironing etc, while Sarah, Pam Hunter, and Hilary Sanders do the sewing and Hilary Johnson does the sticking’
Sparking off each other, they make the best possible use of whatever items come into their hands, creating anything from tepees and circus play tents, to scented candles and cards.
Pam, a quilter for almost 40 years, said: ‘It is much better to come together and share our ideas and we like to try new things for each event.’
Hilary Sanders describes the group as ‘very supportive, sharing fun and friendship and inspiring other people’.
Vintage Green, started in 2014, is a splinter group of the Church Green Team, which gained an Eco-Congregation Award for being environmentally friendly by developing better ways to use resources.
Besides the summer fete the group usually has a stall at St Eustachius’ Christmas Tree Festival and in the run-up to these two big events the sewing ladies spend ‘countless hours’ adding to their stock. View their latest range at the fete on Saturday, June 10, from 10.30am to 3.30pm.
Other stalls will include woodturning by Eric Cockings, handicrafts, bric-a-brac, nearly new clothes, books and plants. There will be a bouncy castle, face painting, entertainment from Flute Ensemble and The Saxophonics, plus church tower tours, a barbecue and refreshments.
More Families Get “Messy” at St Eustachius Church
INCREASING numbers of families are being welcomed to the monthly ‘Messy Church’ sessions at Tavistock Parish Church.
The after-school get-togethers combine creative crafts, bible-themed activities, music and worship, rounding off with a shared hot meal. Since the group was launched in March last year, 62 families have been welcomed, with 15 adults and 25 children regularly attending and some 50 people, including helpers, sitting down to eating together.
At the annual meeting of St Eustachius’ Parochial Church Council, vicar the Very Rev Dr Chris Hardwick said: ‘As a church we have month by month gradually increased the number of children coming to “Messy Church” – a formula for bringing all age groups together to try their hands at crafts and activities based around a simple theme and Bible story and ending in informal worship. It’s a wonderful way of allowing people to begin or renew their experience of faith, worship and church.’
Sarah Pendle, who runs the group, said since the groups’ launch, 13 sessions had been held, including three summer ones (“Mini Messy”) and a Saturday one.
‘There is a very dedicated team of disciples who work amazingly hard, with more than 40 people who minister in a variety of ways in “Messy Church”.’
Sessions include the parables of Jesus, Creation, the Bible, Mountains, Joshua, Christmas and Easter. Worship is led by vicar Chris, assistant curate Steve Martin and Sally Pancheri.
Sarah said through activities children shared what they had learnt about God’s word. Singing was greatly enjoyed and during worship time prayers were written and read out by children, then displayed on the Clothworkers’ altar and used in intercessions.
She thanked the PCC for funding the group and all supporters. Families are welcome to just turn up at any “Messy Church” session, usually held the first Wednesday of the month. The next one is on June 7, 3.30pm to 5.30pm.
Sean Sweeney’s 60th Birthday Celebration
Choristers from St Eustachius’ Church toasted Sean Sweeney’s 60th birthday with a surprise celebration at The Bedford Hotel, following their practice on Friday April 28. Sean was presented with gifts including a bottle of wine, wine glasses, flowers and a birthday card picturing a church organ, specially embroidered by chorister Rita Bilverstone. A birthday cake, iced with a keyboard and music notes, was made by Gulworthy resident Hilary Barnardo, and assisting Sean with the cutting was his wife, Carol.
On Sunday April 30, Sean, Director of Music at St Eustachius’ since 2005, led a joint choral evensong with the Cornish choir, Canoryon Lowen, as part of Tavistock Festival 2017.
TAKING a leading role in Palm Sunday’s procession from the parish centre to St Eustachius’ Church was Arthur the donkey, who duly trotted in once again to take Jesus into Jerusalem for the Tavistock Passion Play on Good Friday morning.
Also pictured are the vicar, The Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, assistant curates the Reverend Dr Steven Martin and The Reverend Sue Tucker, with Arthur’s owner, Heather King from Tavistock.
Palm Sunday followers, clutching ‘palms’, accompanied the choir singing, All Glory, Laud and Honour as they circled the church before entering for the service.
Also featured below is an Easter Garden in the church porch made by the members of the Vestry Group.
Feature Stories 2016
Chicks Santa Run
On Saturday 10 December the Chicks Santa Run took place – over 250 ‘Santas’ came to Tavistock to take part – from babies in prams to … Eileen Hooper, who was the oldest competitor. Well done Eileen – we are very proud of you. The weather was poor but it did not put a dampener on the Run. Eileen is seen being presented with her medal by the Mayor, Councillor Mandy Ewings.
Festive Tree-t at St Eustachius!
THE focal point of Tavistock’s Dickensian Evening on Friday 25 November, will be St Eustachius Church, glowing with festive cheer on the opening of its annual Christmas Tree Festival.
Exhibitors, including traders, schools, groups and organisations, are busy putting final touches to their trees ready for the event opening at 6 pm. This year there are several new participants, including Morrisons, Boots Opticians, Broadley Speaking, the Town Hall, Tavistock Times, besides many old favourites such as Goosey Quilters, the Flower Club and the Turners and Carvers Club.
In response to requests last year, on Wednesday 30 November the church is staying open late (until 6.30 pm), a new departure. Mulled wine will be on sale and carols fill the air as the choir practices its Advent Carol Service, being held on Sunday 27 December at 6 pm.
The ten-day spectacular, running until 4 December, attracts visitors from far and wide. Last year more than 10,000 people walked the tree-lined aisles and over £12,500 was raised towards church funds.
Event co-ordinator, Pat Morrison said: ‘Last year’s attendance was fantastic and in the run-up to St Eustachius’ centenary in 2018 we are hoping for another great year. The sight of all the wonderfully decorated trees filling the church with warmth and light captures the true spirit of Christmas. What better way to highlight Tavistock’s Dickensian Evening, with the streets and shops bustling with shoppers and entertainers?’
For more information on the Festival opening times, please see the main page of this website under ‘Friends’.
Chorister Eric Helps Turn Christmas Bazaar into a Record Breaker
CHORISTER Eric Cockings, who sold wooden gifts, at the Christmas Bazaar on 19 November, that he had made from St Eustachius’ old church doors, helped to raise the record-breaking sum of £5,073.
The event was at Tavistock Town Hall and Eric alone took over £1,000, with some 50 orders to follow.
The doors, believed to be two to three hundred years old, were replaced two years ago, and with no plans for them, Eric was permitted to rescue them for St Eustachius’ benefit.
Eric has crafted everything from bowls, pots and coasters, to pencil holders, egg cups and jewellery stands. His paperweights he inset with cast iron studs from the church doors.
Born and bred in Ivybridge, Eric and his wife Sylvia, moved to Tavistock in 2000, and a few years later both joined the church choir. Eric, a chorister since he was eight, met his wife Sylvia, in the choir at Ivybridge when he was 16 and she 14. They have been married 58 years and still enjoy singing together as tenor and alto.
Eric is a founder member of Tavistock Turners and Carvers Club, and now president.
Artists of All Ages Create Colourful Church Exhibition
ARTISTS from primary school age to talented amateurs and professionals attracted a steady flow of visitors to St Eustachius Church’s Art Exhibition in Gallery 26 at the Bedford Hotel, on Friday and Saturday, October 7th and 8th.
Entrants were asked to create a picture or artwork of Tavistock Parish Church, or any part of it. Exhibits included everything from watercolour, gouache and oil, to acrylic, pencil and pastel. Among other work were monoprints, fabric and illuminated pictures and customised glass.
The schools competition was run by Hugh Walkington, with entries from Lamerton Church of England Primary, Mount Kelly Preparatory and Senior schools, St Peter’s C of E, Tavistock College and Whitchurch Community Primary School.
These were judged by a panel of well-known local artists, including Nick Collier, Ian Pethers and Ros Pierson.
Prizes were awarded to: Alice Tucker (Tavistock College), Rick de Wilde (Lamerton C of E), Annabelle Hess and Charlotte Tilney (Mount Kelly Prep), with another 19 children receiving certificates of commendation.
Visitors were asked to vote for their favourite picture and chose Colin Hale’s oil painting of floodlit St Eustachius, entitled ‘Night Light’.
The event is the first to be organised by The Friends of Eustachius in the run-up to the church’s 700th centenary in 2018, with plans underway to help attract a wider community to the church.
Chairman of The Friends, John Rea organised the event, ably assisted by Judy Hirst, deputy chairman.
John said: ‘The exhibition was seen by many people and was a great success. A big thank you to artists young and old, who contributed beautiful works of art’.
Vicar Chris Hardwick said: ‘A big thank you to all The Friends who made this possible and everyone who contributed. This is all part of building for the future in which we hope to engage more widely with our Christian community in the Tavistock area, where we have been for several hundred years and longer’.
A proportion of money raised from the sale of exhibits is being donated to the church’s upkeep.
Newly Ordained Priest Steven Martin Baptises His Son
THE day after being ordained priest at Tavistock Church, the Rev Dr Steven Martin baptised his son during his first Eucharist service.
Steven was ordained by Bishop Nick of Plymouth, on September 24, together with Carl Budden, from St Edward, Eggbuckland, and Leon Catallo, of St Andrew and St Paul, Plymouth.
St Eustachius Church was packed for the event, for which the choir was joined by choristers from the Collegiate Church of the Holy Cross and The Mother of Him Who Hung Thereon, Crediton, where Steven had formally been Director of Music.
The following day, he presided over the Eucharist for the first time and christened his son Henry George Buxton. For this service, choristers from Steven’s Taunton choir, In Ecclesia, swelled the choral ranks.
Steven is pictured with his wife, Caroline, after Henry was clothed in The White Garment, which represented being clothed with Christ. The gown was made from Caroline’s wedding dress by churchwarden, Hilary Sanders.
After the service Steven returned to the High Altar to give First Blessings to those wishing to receive one. In this ancient tradition, the newly anointed hands of the priest (sanctified by the Holy Spirit through the bishop with the holy Oil of Chrism) are used to give God’s blessing for the first time.
Vicar of St Eustachius, the Very Rev Dr Christopher Hardwick, who is Steven’s training incumbent, said: ‘I am delighted that Steve has been ordained priest and will continue his training within the parishes of Tavistock, Gulworthy and Brent Tor. We all look forward to his ministry among us and pray for God’s blessing upon him in his new life as a priest.’
Steven, an accomplished musician, chose hymns and anthems for the services. His love of church music stems from his childhood, when he joined the choir at St George’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Southwark, aged eight. He progressed to learning the organ and at Tavistock occasionally supports Director of Music, Sean Sweeney and the choir.
He studied music at Exeter and Bristol universities, was a choral scholar at Exeter Cathedral and led choirs in Exeter and Taunton. His organ playing pursuits include Broadhembury, Payhembury, Crediton and Exeter Prison (as a visitor!).
Steven began to feel a call to the priesthood while at St George’s cathedral, initially exploring his vocation at secondary school. He vividly remembers his interview with the careers advisor.
‘When I told her that I wished to become a priest, I am not sure that she quite knew what to say or recommend, so she telephoned Lambeth Palace and I remember her passing the receiver to me and speaking to a nice gentleman – not the Archbishop I think! – and he asked me what I was interested in. He recommended that I focus on music for a bit, as I seemed to be enjoying that, and then I could go forward for selection.
‘That is basically what I did, but I focussed on my music a while longer than anticipated – about 17 years, before going forward for selection!’
Steven, assistant curate at Tavistock Church, will perform his priestly duties in the benefice of St Eustachius, St Paul, Gulworthy and Christ Church and St Michael de Rupe, Brent Tor.
He said: ‘Tavistock is an excellent place and Caroline and I love being here. We have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome and support we have received since our arrival just over a year ago. Our heartfelt thanks to all who attended the services and for all the good wishes and messages of support we have received’.
Tavistock Parish Celebrates New Church Deacon
Sue was ordained Deacon to serve as Assistant Curate to the Benefice of St Eustachius, St Paul’s Gulworthy, Christ Church and St Michaels, Brentor, at a special service at Exeter Cathedral last Sunday (September 11).
People from the three parishes travelled to Exeter to see her ordained along with 13 other candidates by the Lord Bishop of Exeter, Bishop Robert. That evening, at St Eustachius Church’s evensong service, she was warmly welcomed by the vicar, The Very Reverend Dr Christopher Hardwick, who presented gifts of books and liturgical stoles from the parishes. A celebration party was held afterwards at the parish centre.
Sue, who has two children, three step children, 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, will be working half-time as self-supporting Assistant Curate in the benefice. Retired herself, she is particularly keen to grow ministry with the elderly, people with dementia and the bereaved.
For 24 years Sue worshipped at St Mary the Virgin Church, Bickleigh, in the Benefice of Roborough and 16 years ago was licensed as a Reader. Eight years later she became Rural Officer for the Diocese of Exeter, working closely with rural churches and networking with rural communities and farming organisations.
Sue had retired when she was encouraged by the then Bishop of Crediton, Bishop Bob, to become ordained. After a few ups and downs, she spent three months on placement with the West Dartmoor Mission Community and started her training in 2015.
It was a steep learning curve, as she had never written an academic essay before, but with great support from parishioners, she managed to pass all her exams.
Last Sunday was the culmination of Sue’s calling to ordained ministry. She said: ‘I am delighted to be serving the people of the benefice. I feel this is the place God has called me to be. It is hugely affirming being at St Eustachius, St Paul’s and Christ Church and I pray that together we will all be on a wonderful journey as we truly become disciples of Christ’.
Paint Tavistock’s Historic Parish Church in Summer Art Competition
ARTISTS of all ages are being invited to paint a picture of Tavistock’s beautiful parish church, or any part of it, in a summer art competition – and their work will be displayed in an autumn exhibition.
The competition is one of the events marking the 700th anniversary of St Eustachius Church in 2018, and the exhibition will be open to the public at the Bedford Hotel, on October 8 and 9.
The competition has three sections: Junior (under 13), Senior (13 to 18) and Adults (19 and over) on September 1, with cash prizes for the best entries.
To inspire you, artist Ian Pethers, exhibition secretary of Tavistock Group of Artists, is pictured holding a watercolour he painted showing part of the Lady Chapel east window, with a carving of the Virgin and child.
Ian, a member of the Hilliard Society of Miniaturist Art and the Royal Miniaturist Society, is pictured with Canon Dr John Rea, chairman of the Friends of St Eustachius Church, which is organising the competition.
Mr Rea said: “I think this is a wonderful painting, featuring part of the church which is very special to me. I hope it will inspire anyone who enjoys painting to capture the church, or part of it, which is special to them.’
Schools have been posted with details of the competition. For an entry form please contact John Rea (email@example.com; 01822 613420) or Hugh Walkington (firstname.lastname@example.org; 01822 614972).