I’m so privileged to share with you – Elaine’s kind words regarding Mary’s community and church ministry and also her move from The Olive Tree Church to a new adventure God has planned for her.
This was delivered as part of our most recent worship at OTC.
Mary has been part of the Olive Tree Church since 2015. Initially she was funded by the Nehemiah project and worked with St. Andrew’s, St. Margaret’s and Blenheim as our community worker. She set up various community activities – Pilates, craft group, English classes and various other ones. Mary also involved herself in our Stay and Play and Messy church. In all of this it was reaching out to our local community. Various members of our congregation got involved in some of these activities.
After a couple of years funding changed. The Olive Tree church funded her work through the Methodist funding scheme. Mary’s skills and talents in building relationships with all those who attended,. means she was well respected and loved by all whom she encountered. Despite the difference in culture many appreciated her offer of prayer when in difficult circumstances.
Throughout all of this her vibrant faith in Jesus as Lord and her total commitment to her calling to mission work was paramount in all she did and said.
In 2021 Mary took on greater role in the Olive Tree church, looking after pastoral teams as well as her own pastoral list and preaching monthly. Many of the housebound and unwell benefitted from her phone calls and visits, often taking communion. Rev Joanne Sherwood accompanied her at times. She also began Stay and Play again on a Monday afternoon, was around for Fellowship club and Christian Aid lunch. She continued to organise a trainer for the Gym session, and a tutor for the English class. The craft group was always well attended with several of our won members enjoying being involved, learning and teaching new skills as well as the outings for afternoon tea and trips to the coast. Mary also played an important part on the leadership team during this time and continued with her support in Messy church. She and Claire did do Messy Sunday for a while too.
Sadly, earlier this year Mary’s health took a tumble. Thus her physical ability to continue at this pace has had to be reassessed. Also, Mary has felt God’s hand on her life directing her to new and different opportunities for mission. She has working amongst the Muslim community now for 10 years and God is calling her to pastures new.
So we at the Olive Tree Church want to say thank you Mary.
Thank you for your friendship, for the love and commitment you’ve shown to our community and to the Olive Tree Church. Thank you for your wisdom in leadership matters, for your compassion to those in need and those of us who have gone through difficult times. For your hard work – physically, mentally and spiritually – of the various groups you got involved in and with and for seeing a need and responding irrespective of time.
But perhaps most of all for the shining example of what being a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ means, how vital prayer is in everything we do and hope to achieve and how faith upholds and guides us in every area of life.
I’m sure I have missed out loads! But lastly but by no means least we must mention your boys!! Jay and Joshua. They have played very important role in your life, supporting you and encouraging you and being the base to which you returned after many a long day.
Call her up – We know you are around for a while longer as a member but we want you to know how vital role you have played in this journey of ours. You have walked with us through the years of our becoming one fellowship. Your wisdom and skills in leadership have been most beneficial in some the challenging times we’ve encountered.
So thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love, your friendship and your amazing example of discipleship. God bless you as you move to this new phase.