Cross of St Piran 2017: Evelyn Reed
“God’s always there, at my shoulder. I might want to hang back, sit on my hands, but He’s always pushing me on and I find my hand has gone up!”
Evelyn moved to St Germans forty years ago and immediately felt at home. She loved the local church, joined the choir, rang the bells, signed up for the PCC – happy days! And then life changed, became complicated and challenging and sadly Evelyn didn’t feel her church was her home anymore.
“It was a very hard time. I walked away and stayed away for three years – but God wasn’t going to let go that easily.” Evelyn eventually came back to a different church, at Sheviock, where the seeds of love for the church began to take root again. And so it was, she found that rogue arm going up and volunteered to be part of the St Germans Priory Trust that set out to lease her old beloved church from the parish PCC and bring it back to life again.
It was hard work, lots of meetings, paperwork and prayer but today the church is flourishing. Working across the community with the Methodist Church, Evelyn is responsible for Messy Church and Children’s Church, helping to bring a new wave of young people to the congregation. She has also been invited into the local community primary school where she takes part in Open the Book and helps to forge links by being a willing pair of hands, or listening ears, for young readers.
Evelyn has also worked with the Trust to set up a Christmas market which, she says, is a great event that has led to new people coming to the church. Being visible in the community is important. As Evelyn says, “Taking a turn in the village community shop might sound very Archers, but it’s a great way to connect with the villagers, share information about what’s going in the church, making it much easier to invite people to join in.”
When asked why put herself through all the bother of the Priory Trust and come back to a church that she walked away from, Evelyn is emphatic. “Because it is a wonderful place. There are so many happy memories associated with it, so many prayers over the centuries, so much love.” It is indeed a beautiful church, but, without the love and care poured into it by people like Evelyn, all it would be is an empty beautiful building on the edge of a quaint village rather than a heart at the centre of it, open and willing to serve its community.