A vicar who went ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ during lockdown has been rewarded for his efforts by the local community.
Revd Mark Edwards MBE, Team Vicar of Christ the King Team Ministry, played an essential role in helping his congregation during this difficult time.
Mark volunteered as a driver distributing food parcels - which were organised by the parish council - to the vulnerable in Dinnington, and also delivered ‘goody bags’ containing home communion to his parishioners.
When the local shop was forced to close for a time, Mark also ran errands for emergency supplies for those without means of transport and on more than one occasion he ensured that people managed to keep urgent hospital appointments.
During lockdown Mark used his daily exercise time to walk in the villages dressed in his cassock and baseball cap as a visible reminder of the church.
And he rang the church bells every Thursday night during Clap for Carers, in support of the NHS and keyworkers.
Tom Laidler, churchwarden of St Matthews, said: “Mark truly went above and beyond the call of duty and this deserved to be recognised, and of course his wife Lesley accompanied him at times on his walkabouts and helped to fill and deliver the goody bags.”
Following a joint service with St Matthew’s and St Cuthbert’s for St Matthew’s Day, Mark was presented with a shepherd’s crook commissioned by his congregation to thank him for all he had done, and Lesley was presented with a bouquet of flowers.
The crook features a fox’s head engraved on the handle in recognition of Mark’s love for the animal, and an engraving of St Cuthbert’s cross on the shoulder.
Tom, when presenting the staff to Mark, said it was in acknowledgment of his ‘ecclesiastical shepherding of the flock and the community at a time when they needed it the most.’
Mark said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to continue to support the parishes and communities during this challenging time.”