On Thursday 6 April 2023, four people from the Diocese of Oxford will be honoured with Royal Maundy gifts of specially minted coins by The King, in the Royal Maundy Service at York Minster.
This is to be the first Royal Maundy service of the reign of King Charles III. The King will honour Maundy Recipients from across the country for their service and dedication to their communities and the Church. The number of Recipients is equal to the Monarch’s age and this year 74 men and 74 women were chosen. Each recipient is gifted two small leather purses, one white holding coins to the value in pence of the Monarch’s age and one red holding a special £5 and a special 50p.
The tradition is one of the oldest of royal life dating back to at least 600AD, and in this country, the first record of the monarch doing so is in 1213. Now a symbolic ceremony, the tradition began with kings and queens giving money to those in need and washing the feet of their poorer subjects, as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper.
Early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Her Majesty decided Maundy money should not just be distributed to the people of London, and so she travelled to various cathedrals or abbeys to give gifts to local people.
The four recipients in the Diocese of Oxford are honoured for their quiet and steadfast dedicated Christian service to our local communities and churches.
Penny Ginger has been a dedicated volunteer in her community, local church and Christ Church Cathedral. After 33 years at the Department of Education and Science, as it was formerly known, she took early retirement in 1999 to care for her elderly mother and began offering her time to volunteering. Penny spent many years as the Aston Clinton Parish Church Council Secretary, a Church Warden, and volunteering with the Women’s Institute and the Horticultural Society. Since 2011, she has been Head Steward and Chair of the Stewards’ Committee and Head Guide and Chair of the Guides’ Committee at Christ Church Cathedral. Her commitment to Christ Church does not go unrecognised, in 2022 Penny was awarded as the volunteer who had dedicated the most hours to the Cathedral. At any organisation Penny volunteers for, she is asked to take on Chair and secretary roles, a sure testament to her gifts and dedication.
Anthony Houghton-Brown is a Parish Church Council member and was a Churchwarden for many years at his village church in Buckinghamshire. As a history teacher, he inspired many with his enthusiasm and legendary knowledge of the local church history and has used his skills to support the church in numerous ways, such as leading services and sharing his faith for over fifty years. Despite his Parkinson's diagnosis seventeen years ago, Anthony continues to support and dedicate his time to others and the church and has raised over £30,000 for Parkinson's Disease research, bravely taking part in sky diving and abseiling fundraisers. Parkinson's has reduced his mobility but not his commitment to Christian witness and he remains devoted to faith and the church. Local people describe Anthony as a "faithful friend to all" and a "true light of the church".
Gloria Richards has been committed to the Christian faith and serving the Lord from a young age. Gloria married a Church Army officer and faithfully supported him as they were posted around the country whilst being a devoted mother to three adopted children. She recently celebrated her 85th birthday and continues her support of the Church Army as a Mission Community member. Gloria is very active in the Diocese of Oxford Mother’s Union, promoting the mission and ministry work of the organisation, supporting events and encouraging others to join. Local people say, “Gloria’s greatest gift is that of prayer, her prayer life of intercession for others is regular, committed and expectant” and that her “faith shines through her actions and is infectious.” Age does not hold Gloria back, she continues to support the local church and in recent years, she has taken on many roles at Berinsfield Church helping to lead worship, assisting with the Messy Church group, providing pastoral support to baptism families, and facilitating a monthly prayer link with the ‘Burning Bush’ Project in the Diocese of Kimberly and Kuruman, a Mission Partner of the Diocese of Oxford.
David Shaw’s life-long Christian faith has seen him committed to fervently serving the local church in each place he has lived. For many years, David and his wife, Rosemary, took regular trips into eastern Europe, in place of their well-earned holidays, to spread the gospel, distribute bibles and plant churches. At age 88, David is still an active member of a church in Chipping Norton where three of his children and their families also attend, a legacy that is a witness to David’s devotion to following God’s call. Local people say that his “extraordinary faith sets a wonderful example to all of us who are privileged to meet him.”
Notes for Editors
For media enquiries, please contact Madeleine Hayden /07880 716 761 in the Diocese of Oxford press office.
About the Diocese of Oxford
The Diocese of Oxford is the Church of England in the Thames Valley region of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. There are over 800 churches in 626 parishes, the largest number of churches of any diocese in the Church of England. The diocese is also home to over 280 schools and academies educating some 60,000 pupils.