Desmond Ward has served St Chrysostom’s for 15 years as churchwarden. Now Desmond feels the time has come to stand down and hand the baton on to others. Speaking at Mass on Sunday Fr Ian commented that his outstanding work as churchwarden has helped transform our church in recent years – not only by greatly improving the building but also by guiding and encouraging our inclusive christian fellowship, and supporting our Catholic Anglican ethos. Fr Ian proposed and all agreed that we confer the honorific title Churchwarden Emeritus – a title, we believe, used for the first time at our Church. In accepting the honour Desmond movingly responded:
Some years ago I returned to the area and St. Chrysostom’s where I had worshipped in the 1970’s for many years. In the 1990’s moving closer to Manchester I returned to my spiritual home. The fact that I stayed was the fantastic welcome I had from some who had remembered me, David Percival Smith, my predecessor as churchwarden and Louise Da Cocodia, deputy lieutenant of Manchester whom I adored and she turned out to be my mentor. People are the most important thing in life and I was drawn by the friendliness and diversity from which we all benefit.
The church was dark, damp, dismal and colander like. We did not know from day to day where the buckets would be. Dry rot was around the building and we sorted it problem by problem. We served tea from a table covered with a vinyl cloth, an urn to make tea and the pots had to be carried to the kitchen sink in the vestry block to be cleaned. We had one toilet in the vestry block, adequate for the then small congregation we had of around 30 -35. It had to change and I was determined with the necessary funding it could be done.
Father Ian and I had a vision of what it could be like and we set about it mostly in difficult circumstances. We have had a strong working relationship and the same outlook for the building.
I mention these things to emphasize that all things are possible given the will and determination of the people working as a team.
My last fifteen years as churchwarden have been mostly pleasurable and I have been proud of what I have achieved right to the end. Father Ian and I have worked harmoniously in terms of aspiration and vision for the church.
I thank everyone for the support and encouragement given to me.
In all walks of life there is usually someone quietly in the background and equally important, holding other parts of life together, and I could not have done all my work for the church without the support of my husband, Michael, a very special person to me and for whom I am well blessed.