The Order of St Ethelbert is awarded to those in the Diocese of Hereford who have given long and distinguished service to the diocese. Our parishes are wonderfully served by men and women who give selflessly of their time and skills and to uphold the life and ministry of our communities.
Of course, we understand that this service is so often given with no thought of reward or recognition but we also know that many parish clergy and fellow parishioners/members of communities would value a means of celebrating the devotion of those in their midst. Many dioceses now have ‘orders’ or ‘companies’ of those who are honoured for their service and the past two years has demonstrated that this is a popular and respected means of offering that recognition.
St Ethelbert, Saxon saint of the Cathedral, is chosen as a focus for this for several reasons:
- he exemplified courage and perseverance
- his life speaks of healing and light
- he provides an enduring link between Cathedral and diocese.
The Order was founded in 2015 as a means of recognising and honouring women and men from the parishes of the diocese and beyond who have supported and nurtured the Christian ministry of the diocese in many and devoted ways. The Order will be presented to the successful recipients by the Bishop of Hereford in Hereford Cathedral each year at a special service of dedication. Each recipient receives a signed certificate from Bishop Richard, a St Ethelbert medal and ribbon and a copy of the book St Ethelbert, King and Martyr.
Previously, Rural Deans have been circulated with information on the Order and asked to contact their deanery clergy to invite and agree on nominations. We are now opening the possibility of nomination to all, clergy and laity, as sometimes the nomination process doesn’t fit in with Deanery Synod/Deanery Chapter and it is possible that people are missing out. Nominations should be submitted on the attached form and those who nominate are asked to have their form signed by their parish priest. We hope that the parish priest will also write an endorsement in support of a nomination. The completed form should then be submitted to the Dean, who will convene a small committee, including the Bishop, the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire and the Chair of the House of Laity of the diocese.
When nominations have been discussed and agreed, the Bishop will write, confidentially, to successful nominees, inviting them to accept the nomination and inviting them to come to the Cathedral for a special service and presentation.
There are no guidelines for this as we feel that there are so many reasons why a person might be nominated. However, in our experience, there are often those whose long service shines out and who clergy and others in local communities would really value the opportunity to celebrate and salute. In 2017, some of the reasons for a successful nomination were as follows:
- for outstanding work as a parish organist for 45 years
- for outstanding support for the ministry of Readers in the diocese
- for longstanding work in maintaining and developing the link with Nuremberg
- for tireless work for the elderly, through lunch clubs and other events
- for outstanding work in a parish – as Reader, School Governor and through the night shelter and the Healing Ministry
- for service to the community as a local Undertaker
Nominations have tended to be for very long service and a lifetime’s work in parishes and communities but there is no reason why a young person should not be nominated, provided evidence is given of faithful and widely-recognised service and work. It is now perfectly possible to nominate couples as we understand this is important in some cases.
Please will those who nominate, be careful not to discuss the nomination with the person they have in mind. We try to keep this confidential until they have the lovely surprise of receiving a letter from the Bishop.
Nominations for 2023 are now closed. The service for recipients of this year's award will take place at Hereford Cathedral on Sunday 22 October 2023.