Cross of St Piran 2017: Jennifer Bartlett
Jennifer has played the organ for Egloskerry Church for 54 years. When asked why, she said, “Because I just love it.”
Egloskerry Church is the cornerstone of Jennifer’s life. She was born in Egloskerry, went to the church as a child, to the Sunday School, sang in the choir and first began playing the organ there. It has always been part of the fabric of her life, and has become a place she loves and cherishes, growing up and older within it – she even celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary there.
Later in life she learnt to ring the bells, wishing she’d started earlier. She loves the measured approach to bell-ringing, explaining, “It’s important to be a good listener, to wait your turn, be mindful of others and be ready to ring out when the time is right.” Jennifer’s guide to bell-ringing is the perfect metaphor for good communication. Maybe we should all take it up.
Jennifer also looks after the graveyard. She says it’s a very peaceful and calming job just to be around the church, and enjoys doing something physical and practical. Fellowship is important to Jennifer, and she feels helping out at church is part of that, whether that’s tending to the graves, ringing the bells or playing the organ.
Jennifer is a gentle soul, quietly assured in her faith which, she is certain, helped her son to recover from cancer. Playing the organ is another expression of her faith. She finds it very relaxing and something she really loves, but it is the more rousing and, as she says, “Go-y” hymns that she enjoys the most. A particular favourite is Praise my Soul the King of Heaven.
She plays because she loves it and enjoys the fact that she is helping others. But Jennifer plays at home too, “Clifford, my husband, likes to be serenaded!” and was thrilled recently when two new people in Church made a point of telling her how much they enjoyed her playing.
Celebrating her wedding anniversary at Egloskerry was very poignant for someone who has placed church at the centre of her community. “Everyone was there and I got to play all my favourite Hymns!” She was particularly touched that the church wardens had prepared food for everyone.
Being nominated for the Cross of St Piran Award not only recognises the fact that the church is a cornerstone of Jennifer’s life, but that Jennifer is also a quietly dependable cornerstone in the life of Egloskerry Church.