Baptist Christians in Great Britain were recognized recently in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list.
Sri Lanka-born Rev. Fred George, former president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain who ministered at East Barnet Baptist Church for 40 years, was named Member of Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the community in the London Borough of Barnet, Hertfordshire and Sri Lanka. He has worked with children and families in the United Kingdom and in Sri Lanka.
“It was a surprise, but I was delighted,” he said. “I see a recognition of the work done by a huge army of volunteers both in Barnet and Sri Lanka.” He said it had been a privilege to work with so many volunteers over the years.
Paul Davies, a member of Kidlington Baptist Church in Oxford, received the MBE for services to music in Oxfordshire. A viola player, he has been active in the county’s musical life for 40 years and has been particularly involved in music with children through teaching and through the Oxford Concerto Orchestra.
He said he was “very surprised but pleased” to be recognized for his work, which he said was particularly focused on helping children learn to play well as a team.
“Paul is very highly respected in the church, and many of us here have a great deal to thank him for. This is very well deserved,” said the Rev. Graham Sinden, Kidlington’s pastor.
Kathryn Broadhurst has been head teacher at Green Lane Infant School in Leicester for 29 years and retires this summer. A member of Kirby Muxloe Baptist Church, she received an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education. Under her leadership, the school has won many awards.
“Staff, pupils and parents all love and respect Kathryn and know how important her Christian faith is to her,” said Angela Almond, whose husband, Bob, is the church’s pastor. “We are all very proud of her!”
Many other Christians were recognized for the work they have done in various spheres. The founder and president of the money advice charity Credit Action, Keith Tondeur, received the OBE for services to financial education. He set up the charity in 1990 following 22 years in top level stock-broking in London, while also dedicating his time to helping people in debt. From these experiences, he recognized that personal debt was going to become a problem in the United Kingdom.
“We think this recognizes the great effort, energy and sacrifice Keith has shown in working tirelessly for the last 20 years,” said Credit Action’s director, Chris Tapp. “Keith was a visionary in seeing the importance of this work, which is more needed now than ever. We can all see the dangers of getting our attitude toward money wrong.”
He added that the forthcoming budget cuts would create even more pressure on people who might already be vulnerable financially. “A lot of people have become reliant on the state for employment or benefits. It will be a very difficult time for years to come. Many will struggle and will need the kind of help we offer.”
“The level of personal, national and international indebtedness is frightening, and we will see a greater demand for preventative measures in the future,” Tondeur said. “Better money management at all levels of society will help us, individually and collectively, to make sensible informed decisions about how we manage our finances.”
Methodist minister Rev. David Haslam, founder of the Dalit Solidarity Network, received the MBE for services to community relations and to the Methodist Church.
Jenny Kartupelis, director of the East of England Faiths Council, also received the MBE. She said, “I am thrilled to be honored in this way; it is a tribute to the value of interfaith work and to everyone involved in the Council.
“Our aim is to foster good understanding between faiths, support local interfaith work and promote social action by faith groups. I’m very happy to have played a role in this and look forward to us achieving even more in our work.”
This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.