Thursday the 8th of September 2022 is a day many of us will never forget. The death of Queen Elizabeth II has stunned the nation. As I type, people are queuing in London, hoping to pay their respects at Westminster Hall before the Queen’s state funeral on Monday the 19th of September.
When I heard the news I was at All Saints’ Madeley preparing for a special service where I was to be formally Instituted& Inducted as vicar, our new Associate Minister Rev Dot was preparing to be licensed and Ruth Fish, our Children, Youth and Families Minister was preparing to be commissioned. We spent the evening with the archdeacon of Stoke and the bishop of Stafford and an assorted congregation from both benefices and beyond.
As part of such a service Church of England clergy swear to, “be faithful and bear true allegiance to…” the monarch. Our printed service books had the words, “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second” printed in them. In my service book I hastily drew a line through the name of the queen and scribbled, “His Majesty King Charles III” underneath. The precise title of the new king had yet to be announced so we leant on the bishop’s advice.
I didn’t expect to be swearing allegiance to a king that day. Nor did I expect that two days before the service I would sing “God save our gracious Queen” for the last time (probably in my lifetime), as we waited to see the Lionesses beat Luxembourg 10-0 at the Britannia stadium.
These are just my memories and thoughts. I’m sure the death of Queen Elizabeth II will have affected everyone in some way. The 19th of September will have seen Queen Elizabeth II commended into God’s care, let’s make sure we take time to offer own on prayers to God.
Here too is a chance to meet Rev Dot Woods, as she joins us in Madeley, interviewed by Rev Tim:
Can you tell us about yourself?
The youngest of three children, I was brought up in the seaside town of Southport in Merseyside. Having lived in Manchester as a student, then the Wirral working in Graphic design and print, I arrived in Nantwich in 1988 and never left.
I met my
husband Rob while we were sharing the leadership of a Youth Group which went by
the glorious name of ‘Holy Disorder’, at Acton St. Mary’s church, (Nantwich). We
were married at Acton Church, and both of our children later christened
there. Jenny is now 23 and Rae is 21.
Rob is always ‘Proud to be a Dabber’ and on Saturdays can be found supporting his beloved local football team, Nantwich Town.
Finally, over ‘lockdown’, we acquired a new family member, a JackaPoo puppy we named ‘Archie’….. Life has been forever altered by his affectionate mischief making.
Can you say something about your journey of faith?
Tiny Dot was christened as a baby in Ainsdale Village Methodist, and learned stories of Jesus on Sundays there until she was seven. Teenaged Dot made a very clear, conscious commitment to Jesus, at an Elim Pentecostal church which was marked with a joyful full immersion baptism in water and the holy spirit. Her mates at Art College thought she’d lost the plot, and her parents were convinced she’d joined a cult, and time would tell!
Fast forward quite a few years… Adult Dot is now in the Church of England and being licensed as a Lay Reader, Chester Cathedral, 2007.
By 2011, I sensed a further calling to Ordination, which took a good while to discern, mainly because it wasn’t clear enough to me, and partly because I was resisting. A silent Retreat at a Jesuit Monastery finally helped me to hear that still small voice which I couldn’t ignore any longer.
Now, training and Curacy complete; here I am standing at the doors of Madeley and Betley churches as your Associate Priest.
What excites you about ministry?
Walking alongside the people of Godas they seek to grow in Christ, looking for opportunities to support our journeys of faith, listening to the ways God has already spoken to us, and how to discern that ‘where to go next’ as we pray and worship together. It’s a joy to be able to preside at communion as we share the bread and wine at Eucharistic services, and I will never tire of that. ‘We are pilgrims on the journey’ goes the old song. We need each other in this shared ministry, none of us has all the answers, but it’s exciting to keep seeking to walk in the light of Christ.
What are some of your interests? What do you do to relax?
I love theatre, film, poetry, live music performances and contemporary art installations. As you might imagine, in Covid times, these all but disappeared, but fortunately another interest of mine is long walks in beautiful spaces…plenty of those where we live, without restriction.
I’m currently enjoying ‘playing with art’ at a low-tech Gelli plate printing course at Sandbach Art Gallery. [photo]
Imagine you’re planning to go for coffee with two people, who would you go with and why?
I’d choose writer, poet, actress, director Maya Angelou and ‘Holy Troublemaker’ Dorothy Day. Just imagine how animated and passionate this conversation would be? Two of the feistiest female social activists of the 20th century. We might be there for considerably more than one coffee.