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Archbishop awards Cross of St Augustine

Friday 17th October 2008

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has today awarded the Cross of St Augustine to thirteen recipients at a ceremony in the Chapel at Lambeth Palace.

The Cross of St Augustine was founded by Archbishop Michael Ramsey. It was first awarded by him on 19 February 1965. It is a circular medallion bearing a replica of the 8th Century Cross of Canterbury and on the reverse side is an engraving of the chair of St Augustine at Canterbury. The ribbon is of "Canterbury Blue" and it is worn around the neck by clergy and on the left breast by lay people.

This award has historically been awarded to clergy and lay people of foreign churches who have contributed conspicuously to advancing friendly relations with the churches of the Anglican Communion. More recently it has also been given for outstanding service within the Church of England whether centrally or in the dioceses, or the Anglican Communion as a whole, and to those who have contributed to advancing relations between the various Christian communions and churches.

The thirteen recipients of the Cross of St Augustine were as follows:

Mr Kenneth Beard

was for nearly thirty years Rector Chori at Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire. Profoundly musical – he was one of the few Choir Directors who actually played the organ himself – he was equally concerned for the well-being of his choristers, many of whom became life-long friends when they left the Minster. He had previously been choirmaster at St. Michael's College, Tenbury Wells, where, to the great acclaim of an audience which included the composer, he conducted the première of Benjamin Britten's Anthem Antiphon. While at the Minster he was also Head of Music at the Minster Grammar School, where he developed, often to professional level, musical skills in the pupils they sometimes scarcely knew they had. His anthem Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace was sung at today's Cross of St. Augustine service.

The Rt Revd Michael Bourke

As well as being the gifted former Bishop of Wolverhampton, Michael Bourke is also a gifted amateur astronomer who consequently sees 'the big picture'. He has used his position in the Church to fight racism, homophobia and poverty: but he has been honoured today mostly for his work on the Meissen Commission – set up in 1988 to foster cordial Anglo-German relations between the Anglican Church and German Evangelical Churches, then still in two separate states. His warm, outgoing personality has done much to heal old war wounds – and in this ecumenical work he has been much aided by his Degree in Modern Languages from Cambridge. He is now retired and plagued by visits from his grandchildren.

The Revd Canon Dr. William Broughton

has blossomed most fully in retirement. A former American Naval Chaplain, he spends the greater part of the year in the Holy Land, where he is a massive source of knowledge and advice for pilgrims to Jerusalem of every faith and is equally respected by the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Communities. A non-stipendary priest at St. George's Cathedral, he is a keen archaeologist who assists on the Ashkelon dig and holds inter-faith seminars in his small flat in West Jerusalem. Last year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Holy Land where he also teaches.

The Revd Canon Wilfrid Browning

who has seen literally hundreds of priests through their ordination at Blackburn and Oxford, is, at ninety, working on an expanded edition of his famous Dictionary of the Bible. A familiar, smiling figure, cycling through the street of Oxford, he has supported ministries all over the world with his wisdom and friendship. With his Torch commentary on St. Luke's gospel, he has, for many ordinands, made the New Testament an exciting treasure for life. Described as 'The clergyman's clergyman', when priests get together you can often hear 'Wildfrid used to say....'

Miss Gillian Dare

A First Political Secretary for the Foreign Office, her work in Nigeria and Zimbabwe for the African Church has been outstanding. A committed Anglican, she is never sectarian in her approach and has been able to empower Christians of every denomination to speak with a powerful voice against tyranny. Fearless, with a lightness of touch, she has been able to clarify the Government's position to the Church – and the Church's position to Government. This year she has been posted to Liberia.

The Hon Jill Ganzoni

sat on the General Synod for twenty five years where she considers her work on the Pensions Board, caring for retired clergy, as her most significant achievement. She was born and brought up and still lives in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich where she was a lay reader and is still a member of the 3rd order of the Society of St Francis. The Ganzoni family motto is Fidelitas Vincit – Faithfulness Conquers – and she has lived up to the family tradition of service by her quiet, extraordinary generosity, not only to the Church and people of Ipswich, but to the whole world.

The Revd Andrew Henderson

helped raise £4.5 million pounds to convert an old school to become the London Lighthouse which cared for people suffering from HIV/Aids. At its height it was helping over 1,000 a week and Andrew, who was the Lighthouse's Chairman for fifteen years, went on to co-found CARA – 'Care and Resources for people living with Aids.' A non-stipendiary priest (he was a Director of Social Services for Kensington and Chelsea) his 'secular ministry' has been a brilliant success.

Mr Vijay Menon

has converted literally thousands of people to Christianity – but himself became a Christian 'by chance'. A Hindu from Kerala in India, he was such an exceptional ship's engineer that he secured a job with Lloyd's Register. One lunchtime he followed a City crowd into a building – and found to his horror it was a Church! The Rev. Dick Lucas's sermon converted him – 'I had discovered the sweet and wonderful world of forgiveness' he was later to write in his Only One God. Vijay became so busy with his world-wide 'talk ministry' to schools, colleges, Churches and other businessmen that he resigned from Lloyds as a senior engineer surveyor in 1998 to become a full-time Evangelist.

The Most Revd. Sir Ellison Pogo

is the Archbishop of the Melanesian Church which covers eight dioceses, over four hundred South Pacific Islands, thirty languages and 250,000 parishioners. Sir Ellison, from a family of fifteen brothers and sisters, has consciously followed the lead of Bishop George Augustus Selwyn who brought the Gospel to the Solomon Islands in 1849 in a ship called the Southern Cross. Now the Melanesian Church has a whole fleet of ships – and its own shipyard. Seven of the Melanesian Brothers – a community of monks who dance and play the Pan pipes – were martyred in 2003, trying to bring peace to the warring Islands. They were honoured at the Eucharist at Canterbury Cathedral which concluded this year's Lambeth Conference – at which Sir Ellison presided.

Mrs Judith Scott

made a trip to South Africa in 1953 which changed her life. Horrified by apartheid, she vowed to change it. Her home became a haven for threatened South Africans – and one South African girl was brought up in her own family. She formed a deep friendship with Bishop Simeon Nkoane and when he died, formed a Trust to bring children and students, at risk from the South African government, to England to, in Archbishop Desmond Tutu's words, 'educate and equip our young people to become the leaders we would so surely need when freedom came'. When it did come, Judith shifted the Trust's work to South Africa itself, where as well as helping to educate the young, it has set up nurseries for babies and children who are H.I.V. positive. Judith retired from the Trust in 2006, honoured as 'Life President'.

Mrs Sheila Tolson

became a committed evangelist at the age of eighteen, when, singing in the Church choir one night, she pledged herself to Christian service. It was caring for her grandmother that taught her to put other people first – and she interprets 'the Lord's business' in the widest possible terms. As well as spreading the Gospel, she is known as a woman who will 'do' for the old and the sick, and she is as happy to make the tea for someone as to counsel them. Not only has she brightened her own church, All Hallows, Bispham, in the Diocese of Blackburn, she has achieved more unity between all Churches in her area than has ever been known before. She is known locally as 'An angel on a bike'.

The Revd Canon Robert and Mrs. Maggi Whyte

in a remarkable joint ministry have built bridges between British and Chinese Christians which will last for generations. Originally committed Maoists, the Oxford-educated Whytes first visited China in 1972. In 1981 they arranged for the first visit to Britain of a Delegation of Chinese Christians since 1949 - then in 1984 co-founded the Friends of the Church in China. Bob, an adviser to Lambeth palace, has accompanied Archbishops Runcie, Carey and Williams on their visits to China. In 1988 Bob published his magisterial Unfinished Encounter – the Church in China.

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