Lifelong Enfield resident and local priest awarded prestigious Mellitus Medal
A special service presided over by the Bishop of London has been held at St Andrew’s Church Enfield to celebrate the ministry and mark the retirement of lifelong Enfield resident and former local priest, the Revd Olive Cope.
One of the first ordained women priests in 1994 and a resident of Enfield for more than 80 years, Olive was joined by more than 300 members of the congregation, representatives from other churches in Enfield across denominations, as well as family and friends, who saw her awarded the prestigious Mellitus Medal for her ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Christian Life of London’ by the Bishop of London. Olive had been involved in life St Andrew’s in many different ways for 50 years.
In a symbol of a church in unity across the generations the service brought together attendees of all ages – toddlers, young people and those old enough to remember Olive from her school days – to share gifts, make speeches of thanksgiving and join in the celebrations. At the end of the service, a group of children gathered round a deeply moved Olive to lay hands on her as the choir sang a blessing.
The Revd Dr Steve Griffiths, the Vicar of St Andrew’s Enfield, commented:
“In the Book of Thanksgiving presented to Olive, three bishops noted how, as children in the St Andrew’s congregation, they had sat under her ministry and still counted her as one of their greatest spiritual mentors in life. These three bishops are joined by literally thousands of local people who have been blessed by Olive’s ministry over the last five decades. She serves as an inspiration to us all of what faithful Christian discipleship looks like. She will be deeply missed by us all, but we wish her every happiness in a long, healthy retirement that is thoroughly deserved.”
The Revd Olive Cope will continue to live in Enfield and worship at St Andrew’s Church. Even though she is officially retired, the Revd Dr Steve Griffiths said that the Enfield community still has much to benefit from her wisdom and ongoing ministry of compassion, kindness and love.
The Mellitus Medal is named after St Mellitus, the Bishop of London who re-founded the Diocese in AD 604, and is awarded in recognition of substantial contribution to the Christian life of London.