Bishop John yesterday presented Jean Norman, 86 from St. Wulstan’s Church in Worcester, with the Wulfstan Cross, an award which pays tribute to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the life of the Church in the Diocese of Worcester.

Jean was instrumental in the building of St. Wulstan’s Church on the Warndon Estate. On moving into the estate when it was built in the early 1960s, she wrote to the then Bishop of Worcester to ask for a church. Before it was built, communion services took place around her dining room table and as a young mum, she motivated the community to raise funds for the building.

Jean said: “There were a lot of young families who had moved onto the new estate and I felt there needed to be somewhere for the children to go. It’s great that a church has grown from the six or seven people who originally met in my house – we used to take a wheelbarrow full of home-grown vegetables around the estate just to try to raise money for cups and saucers! It’s a real honour to receive this award from Bishop John, I could never have expected it. The church has always been a part of my life – I watched it being built brick by brick. It belongs to the community and I love both the church and the people there. My only sadness is that my husband Idris isn’t around to share this with – he was always so supportive and certainly enabled me to do what I did!”

Jean Norman receiving Wulfstan CrossJean is still bookings secretary for the church hall and when she is well, she can be found in church most days. St. Wulstan’s Vicar, the Revd Charles Thomas, said: “I can think of no more worthy recipient of this award. Jean is an amazing lady who has given her heart and soul to St. Wulstan’s. Everyone knows her and she’s a great evangelist for her faith, the church and the local community.”

Bishop John said: “I’m delighted to be able to award the St. Wulfstan’s Cross to Jean who has done so much for the Church and the Christian faith in Worcester. There might not have been a church on the Warndon estate if it wasn’t for her dedication and she is a shining example to us all of being Christ’s light and love in our communities.”

The award was presented to Jean in a special evensong in the Cathedral for St. Wulfstan’s Day.

St Wulfstan/ Wulstan lived c. 1008 - 1095. He served as Bishop of Worcester under the last two Saxon kings and the first two Norman kings. After the Norman Conquest he was responsible for the dismantling of the old Saxon cathedral and the building of a new one, of which the crypt is the main part still surviving today. He was at once venerated as a saint by the people of Worcester, though he was not formally canonized until 1203. Alongside the tomb of St Oswald, his shrine was a place of pilgrimage until the Reformation. Wulfstan found a special place in local people's affections. He took his pastoral duties very seriously, caring for the poor and preaching widely. He was famed for his healing and prophetic abilities. He even preached against the slave trade in Bristol, then part of his Diocese, and thankfully managed to end this practise for a long while.

NB. There are different spellings of St. Wulfstan’s name, with and without an ‘f’ – both the Wulfstan Cross and St. Wulstan’s Church in Warndon are named after the same saint!

See all the photos from the St. Wulfstan Day service in the Cathedral.

ENDS

The Diocese of Worcester is one of 42 dioceses in the Church of England. It covers an area of 671 square miles and includes parishes in the County of Worcestershire, the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, and a few parishes in northern Gloucestershire, south east Wolverhampton and Sandwell.

From: Sam Setchell, Press Officer for the Diocese of Worcester and the Bishop of Worcester.

Tel: 01905 20537 Mobile: 07852 302516
Email: ssetchell@cofe-worcester.org.uk