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News and views from St. Mary's Woodbridge
Issue 10 Winter 2009
Barbara Bown

Five minutes with

... Barbara Bown

Gliding, parascending, scuba diving it takes a tough cookie to revel in an adrenalin rush like that, but new churchwarden Barbara Bown is one of them. And thats not all. She and husband Derek regularly climb in the Austrian Alps and have been awarded twenty-five gold medals for climbing the peaks; and then there are her 25-mile sponsored walks raising funds for the Osteoporosis Society. So how does she do it? "Working out five times a week we have our own home gym," she explains, "is the passport to all that." She has (thankfully!) some less strenuous pastimes too ptanque and needlepoint while her latest venture was an introduction to archery. An active member of her community, shes also secretary to the local flower club and writes regular magazine reports for her local WI; and yet she still manages to find time for all the church work she clearly loves and finds so rewarding.

Willing, as always, to turn her hand to a variety of tasks, Barbara began to help with after-church coffees and Derek became a sidesman on joining St Marys in 2000. Soon afterwards, she accepted a further role, as a Server, something she still does, plus a four-year stint as the highly efficient secretary to St Marys PCC.

What has given her particular pleasure over the past three years are her fortnightly visits to Grove Court, helping with Holy Communion and chatting with the residents. "Its been a great privilege," she says, "and I love getting to know the people there." Being commissioned as an Elder last January means that she can now take the Holy Communion service herself when required (the bread and wine are consecrated by the clergy beforehand).

So how did she feel about becoming a churchwarden? "Speechless," she says, "when I was asked to consider it. I knew Michael Stagg would be a hard act to follow, but I hope eventually to bring my own qualities to the job." In fact she already has: the sincerity of her greeting at the church door each Sunday will do much to welcome and reassure everyone she meets. And she sees St Marys as central to the whole community: "Were here for everyone," she says firmly, "and I want the church to have a human face, for people to see it as somewhere to come and feel at home, like we did."

She is quick to pay tribute to husband Derek: "I couldnt do all that I do without him," she explains, "He constantly gives me so much encouragement and support."