What a Wonderful Day!
The Mayor of Bromyard Cllr. Dr. Dee Dunne-Thomas and the Town Council held a Civic Service at St. Peter’s Church, Bromyard on Sunday April 23rd which is also St. George’s Day!
The local Guiding and Scouting groups held their parades and gathering on the Town Green prior to attending the service. The service also provided an opportunity for the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant between Bromyard and Winslow Town Council – in the presence of the Mayor – and the Armed Forces represented by Colonel Andrew Taylor OBE, DL.
Civic guests included the Deputy Lieutenant of Herefordshire Lady McFarlane; Mayors of Ledbury and Leominster and the Chair of Malvern Hills District Council. Current Councillors and members of the British Legion were also present. Former Bromyard resident Jan Brodie-Murphy (Major retired) and former member of Bromyard R.B.L. returned for the service wearing the scarlet red robes of her new life as a Chelsea Pensioner.
The service was jointly led by the clergy of the three local churches: Rev. Philip Miller of St. Peter’s, Rev. Canon Paul Millar of St. Joseph’s and Rev. Philip Warrey of Bromyard Methodist Church and attended by members of all three churches and from further afield. After the laying of standards on the altar and the hymn “Guide Me Oh Thou Great Redeemer” the service started with an oration from Shakespeare by local actor and author Hugh Farey followed by a folk song “Bread and Fishes” by singer Stevie Geoghegan.
The readings from the Old and New Testament focussed on service in public life and this was followed up in the address by Canon Paul Millar. The theme of his homily developed the message of the New Testament reading namely that those who aspire to greatness, or to rank first among others, must serve the needs of all. Leaders would no longer be driven by power and prestige but by the desire to be of service. All those involved in civic life, at whatever level, should use their position to serve the needs of the town of Bromyard and to help build a society where every person is valued and respected.
An unusual aspect of the service was the reading of the intercessions in different languages representing the diverse nature of the community in Bromyard and giving a sign that all people are welcome and valued.
After singing “Jerusalem” the service moved away from the main part of the church to the Lady Chapel which also houses the First World War memorial and here the Armed Forces Covenant was signed by Colonel Andy Taylor and the Mayor on behalf of the Town Council. The Colonel then said: “It is most appropriate that the Covenant is signed in front of the altar which is the town’s First World War Memorial to those service men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice during that terrible war.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a contract between the Nation and those that served. The service family should not be disadvantaged by their service and today Bromyard and Winslow Town Council formally support this contract and on behalf of the Ministry of Defence I welcome your support and look forward to working with you to develop this relationship”. In her reply the Mayor thanked Colonel Andy Taylor for his organisation of the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant and continued “Today I have signed this Covenant on behalf of Bromyard and Wilmslow Town Council and in doing so we show our commitment to the armed forces and their families”.
The Mayor continued by thanking all those who had taken part in the service and helped with the organisation and she especially mentioned the three clergy who had all been so supportive in working towards this day and who recognise the importance of collaboration among the different faiths in Bromyard. “More unites us than divides us and the Common Good is vital if we are all to live in peace and harmony”.
After singing “God Save the King” the service drew to a conclusion with the clergy giving a joint blessing to the whole congregation and the final hymn “Now Thank We All Our God”.
The weather had stayed fine and so everyone was able to spend time chatting outside the church and then walking over to the Public Hall where a great spread was waiting for everyone lovingly prepared by Gill Churchill and her team.
A good end to a wonderful afternoon.
Photos credit: Ferenc Csullog Photography