The recent award of the British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List may have left Susan Jones ‘shocked and surprised’, but it was no surprise for senior clergy in the Diocese, as well as people in her parish at St Nicholas’ in Wrea Green.
Former Churchwarden, Susan Jones, a grandmother of 11, has worshipped at St Nicholas since 2012, after spending 20 years at St Paul’s, in nearby Ansdell.
Sue’s years of serving the Church have resulted in involvement in a whole host of events and activities – both locally in the parishes where she worships and more widely for the Diocese as a whole.
She said: “I was shocked and very surprised to hear I had been awarded a BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, and feel very humbled to be honoured in this way.”
Whilst Churchwarden at St Paul’s, Sue was part of the Parochial Church Council (PCC – the ruling body of a church) that decided to start an outreach centre in the village to replace a village ‘Mission Hut’.
Sue explains: “I organised and ran this venture with a team of up to 42 volunteers for eight years. It takes the form of a charity shop, where people can come and sit, have a coffee and talk; as well as look and buy all sorts of donated goods which help financially support the church and its work.
“Downstairs, there is a chapel where daily prayers are said and this year the venture celebrates 15 years of active service to the village.”
And that’s only part of Sue’s story of devoted commitment to the mission of the church in Lancashire, both locally and across the County.
Sue was part of a small group that set up, assisted and helped lead the Family Thursday Service at St Paul’s during a hiatus between vicars in the parish. Sue also chaired the very active church social committee.
Support for the wider work of The Church of England in Lancashire included leading a team of parishioners that catered for three ‘Clergy Quiet Days’ held at St Paul’s, providing three course meals and refreshments throughout the day.
And there’s more. When the (now retired) Archdeacon John Hawley was organizing the first of the Diocese’s ‘Big Days Out’ at AKS School, Lytham, Sue was invited to join the organizing committee supporting Bishop Nicholas Reade and then Bishop Julian Henderson in these mission ventures.
Sue continued to support Bishop Julian and Archdeacon Michael Everitt on other events held at AKS and also at Preston Guild Hall.
And when the Archbishop of York visited the Diocese in 2011, Sue was also invited to join the committee which planned a celebration service at the Cathedral.
All this time, of course, Sue had her own family to think about! Susan has been happily married to Terry for 52 years and as well as being blessed with three children of their own - two daughters and a son – the couple’s commitment to fostering led on to the adoption of four girls over the years, including three sisters.
Sue said: “We then decided that was enough and gave up fostering in case we adopted any more children! We now have eleven grandchildren; eight boys and three girls!”
“We came to Lytham in 1990 when my husband moved here for work and started to worship at St Paul’s. When I’d finished at the charity shop, I continued to be part of the team that ran the Thursday Family Service there.
“Then began a personal tussle; when I felt I should leave St Paul’s as God seemed to be telling me that I that I was needed elsewhere. I moved to St Nicholas, and my husband Terry joined me a year later.”
At St Nicholas, Sue is now a member of the Family Service Team, a member of the PCC and assists at Communion and uses her catering experience on the social committee!
The Archdeacon of Lancaster, The Venerable Michael Everitt, congratulated Sue on behalf of the Diocese adding: “Sue’s work with children, especially in welcoming them into her life and home is inspirational. This combined with her vibrant practical faith means she is someone I rejoice in for her Christian discipleship.”