A tribute to our retiring Sacristan


As we approached the end of the coronavirus lockdown which closed places of worship from March this year, and thought about re-opening our churches for Sunday worship, Carol Rhodes, our Sacristan for a great number of years, advised us that, after careful consideration and prayer, she wished to give up this position in order to devote more time to her husband, Martin, and their respective parents, as well as to her full-time job. Her intention is to continue to come to church at St Paul’s whenever possible but without the responsibility that the position of Sacristan entails.  This includes monitoring and ensuring that there are sufficient quantities of wafers, wine, candles and other consumables for the various services in St Paul’s and the Fell Church; supervising the dressing of St Paul’s with the appropriate colour of lectern fall, offertory plate centres and altar linen; setting up the altar at St Paul’s with everything necessary for the officiant at services of Holy Communion; and generally overseeing everything within the sanctuary of the church building.

Carol has done all this with great diligence and care, often coming into the church on her way home from her day job or on Saturdays as well as early on Sundays, and we have all felt relaxed and confident that everything would be in good order – even on those Fridays when we have realized that an important church festival would be celebrated on the next day but one and did we have the necessary candles or other supplies? There was never any need to worry – Carol had thought about it and ordered whatever was needed.

Carol also kept an eye on the church silver – objects of some considerable value donated to the church perhaps 100 years ago in memory of loved ones but now very rarely seen except on the rare occasions when we withdraw them from their haven in the Vestry safe and display them to public view. Carol knew what we have and where to find it – the wardens duly checking their safety once a year as required by canon law – and perhaps suggesting that one platen, chalice or similar should be introduced for more general use.

Carol did all this with a cheerful smile – even when the bulky, awkwardly shaped and unwieldy altar frontals needed lifting from their storage chest in the old Meeting Room and placing in front of the altars (thank goodness they have now left us) – and she has been a veritable ray of sunshine to us all.  We look forward to seeing her in church whenever she can make it.  She was presented with a rose plant and a voucher in church on 25th October, as a mark of our thanks to her and of our esteem.

And a response from Carol

A huge thank you for the lovely card with such kind words written in it, voucher and plant (now on my desk) presented to me yesterday in church.

Not only did I want to send my thanks for the very much appreciated gesture.   I wanted to say how wonderful the service was yesterday morning, sleek, friendly engaging and Mike a wonderfully delivered Shakespeare performance! Who needs Clergy?

I echo Rosemary sentiment, that when time allows I can reengage, it’s a privilege to serve.


The picture shows Carol with Rosemary, her sponsor at Confirmation