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New Year honours for clergy

Two vicars from the diocese have been recognised for service to their communities in the King's New Year honours list.

The Revd Margreet Armitstead and the Revd Christine Blackman were awarded a British Empire Medal for their work in Littlemore and Reading, respectively.

The Revd Margreet has served at St Mary and St Nicholas Church since 2003, first as curate and now as vicar. She has been recognised for her work in transforming the church into a welcoming 'seven-day-a-week' venue for community activities with a project which included installing running water, kitchen and toilet facilities.

Revd Margreet said: “I was a bit taken aback but I did think it was a wonderful thing to celebrate the ministry that has been happening all these years and that was not just me. I happen to be the vicar but all through the years that we were on this journey together, it was a journey of faith in the context of a building project. 

“The spiritual lives of the people have deepened over the years and it has become a really beautiful group of people who have journeyed together to make this happen. The church has been transformed because of the faith of the people in it. It is wonderful that it is fully alive in the week.”

The Revd Christine has been a self-supporting minister at St Luke’s in Reading for more than 25 years, serving alongside her ‘day job’ as a teacher and more recently continuing into her retirement from full-time work. Revd Christine has been recognised for her commitment to her role within Redlands parish, throughout four periods of vacancy which included the Covid pandemic. Throughout the lockdown Revd Christine found imaginative ways to include all the parishioners in services and fellowship.

Revd Christine said: “I am really, really pleased, happy, delighted and honoured but also incredibly humbled that anybody thought that what I have done is worth noticing. I had not done anything that was out of the ordinary.
“I am just a servant really, I have just done my duty and I have loved every second of it. Not for one moment have I regretted my vocation, ever. I even love the dull bits!”

Bishop Steven said: “Warmest congratulations to both Margreet and Christine for their well-deserved recognition. I know the communities they serve will join me in celebrating the difference they have made in bringing them together to create warm and welcoming spaces for all. Those communities also share in the honour as these initiatives are borne out of their working together and collaboration.”

Adding her own congratulations, Bishop Olivia said: "Revd Christine is a wonderfully faithful and dedicated priest, who has served the people of St Luke’s and Reading over many years, and I am delighted that this has been recognised by this honour. I add my heartfelt congratulations to the many she will already have received."

Read about other churches which have been transformed with Development Fund grants. 

Page last updated: Thursday 4th January 2024 4:24 PM
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