Archbishop awards Canterbury Cross for Sheldon Ministry

Fri 01 April 2016

Sarah and Carl write

Well, we have been somewhat overwhelmed by all the cards and calls and emails and Facebook messages from Friends of Sheldon since we got the news. Thank you so much to everyone who has been in touch.We've posted a few of the comments and links here. On Thursday we turned up at Lambeth Palace in our best bib and tucker to receive the Canterbury Cross from Archbishop Justin.The broad grins in the pictures say it all really! 

There were 40 people receiving 9 different awards and we gathered in the newly refurbished Library around tables of 10. Sheldon was able to spare Sue and Jan to make the trip, and Sarah's Dad and Godmother made us a party of 6. Another award recipient on our table happened to have attended a family holiday at Sheldon many years ago and remembered it with levels of gratitude that feel too personal to repeat. Natalie also said "it was the first time that we as a family had been treated kindly because we were a clergy family". Blimey. In his introductory remarks ++Justin said that he had always remembered a clergy mentor he greatly admired once saying "you know, it would have been nice if just one bishop, even once, had come along and said 'you're doing a half way decent job - thank you' ". That resonated so strongly with what we hear so often here at Sheldon.

We felt in extremely exalted company with other recipients from around the world and many different traditions. The awards "recognise outstanding service in different fields, including those of Archbishop Justin’s ministry priorities: prayer and the Religious life; reconciliation; and evangelism and witness." We met people who had worked across Africa and behind the Iron Curtain, in international peacebuilding and reconciliation, evangelism, ministerial formation, law, finance, environmentalism, worship (sorry Peter - didn't get Matt Redman's autograph for you), mental health (Jeff - we did pass on your message to Arthur Hawes) and much more. We were too shy to say hello to the magnificently attired Copts and Greeks but delighted to meet Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra who joined as the 10th member of our table (our part of Dartmoor isn't so very culturally diverse ...). 

Each of us in turn went up to receive our silver award which ++Justin hung round our necks (an interesting maneouvre), along with a signed copy of the citation. (Whisper it quietly but the fact-checkers hadn't quite got the details right - Sarah hasn't knowingly published anything on diagnostic microbiology and Carl isn't semi- (or even a quarter-) retired) but generally they said very nice things about us and more importantly about the ministry. We exchanged a few words with the Archbishop, shook his hand, had our photo taken and then applauded the next one up. More mingling after the ceremony was done before we all trooped into the Palace Chapel for Evensong. Maybe it's just us, but when we worship with people from other faith traditions we're very conscious of both the magnicifence and the frankly bizarre manifestations of our own! On to the Guard Room for drinks, (delicious) canapes and lots more mingling. Sarah was busy networking, dishing out cards and recruiting allies and ambassadors for The Sheldon Hub. Carl was busy enticing Sarah's Dad and Godmother into indiscretions about her youth. Did we mention that the canapes were very good? And people saying so many nice things about the Sheldon ministry ...

A meal out together. Train home to Sheldon. Thank you to Hillary and Andrew and Rhian for keeping the home fires burning. Thank you to David Vermont for being such an unwavering supporter of the Sheldon ministry and nominating us for this award. Expecting 70 Friends Saturday night for a local celebration together. Well, it only happens once in a lifetime ...

Sarah and Carl with Archbishop Justin
Sarah and Carl with Archbishop Justin
Carl receives the Canterbury Cross
Carl receives the Canterbury Cross
Sarah receives the Canterbury Cross
Sarah receives the Canterbury Cross

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Your comments welcome!

Rhona - May 19, 2016

Many congratulations on the Canterbury Cross award - hugely deserved by Sarah and Carl, and the whole team.

Alison - May 10, 2016

I was just having a look on the website about possible retreats and saw the fabulous news about Sarah and Carl! Wow! Warmest congratulations to you both. Delighted your work has been recognised and publicly affirmed at the highest levels. (Have just in fact passed details of your work on to a colleague who knows someone who might benefit from some time out at Sheldon....) Anyway, belated congratulations again - the awards are so very much deserved.

Christopher Quine - Apr 12, 2016

Wel done, I have just heard the news of your well deserved award. I well remember the help and support I received many years ago when I was, as my doctor said "Not fit for purpose" but Mary and Martha enabled me to continue for another ten years until I reached the officail retirement age. Well done it is more than well deserved. Chris Quine

Sue Fry - Apr 02, 2016

Delighted to see the photos and read all about it. I'd not heard of this award before, but know how richly it is deserved. Thank you for all you have done for me over the years and for everyone in need of your particular brand of support. God bless you all.

Sue Knight - Apr 02, 2016

Many congratulations and extremely well deserved! Delighted that your work and that of everyone else at Sheldon has been recognised in this way. I look forward to hearing more when I see you later this month.

Judy Grainger - Apr 02, 2016

Agree so well deserved. Sheldon is a very special place indeed and I am certainly the richer since being introduced to it in my working life and more lately having been able to provide some (albeit limited) voluntary help to assist Sheldon in its work - but also to enjoy doing so! Very many congratulations and wishing you even more success for the future! As said above - may God bless you all!

Gisela Raines - Apr 02, 2016

fabulous news and so well deserved. It had me smiling from ear to ear!

It is the kindness and understanding that makes Sheldon such a special place.

No need for me to tell you to keep up the good work, it is just what happens anyway.

Many Alleluias

Antony Lane - Apr 02, 2016

Wow, congratulations! We are both delighted that you have been recognised in this way.

Enjoy the moment that is so richly deserved.

Thank you for your vision over the years, a delight to see M&M flourish since those early days of 1987!

Love Jane & Antony Lane

Andrew Thomson - Apr 01, 2016

This convenient link makes it even easier for me to send my congratulations, Carl and Sarah. I know that they are very well deserved and I have always been impressed by your vision and compassion for clergy, especially those who are reaching the end of their tether. Luckily or was it by the grace of God, I nearly always enjoyed my ministry even when it grew stressful and I even found Bishops who were supportive! But I know many in a very different position and I thank God for all that you do. May He bless you all!

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