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/ 12 January 2017

Medal of the Order of the British Empire awarded to Enfield priest for community work

The Revd Olive Cope has been recognised in the New Year Honours with the Medal of the Order of the British Empire for her services to the community in Enfield.

A well-known figure in the local community, Olive has been a resident of Enfield for more than 80 years and set up a number of community services and ecumenical initiatives that have benefitted people in the area, as well as undertaking pastoral work and conducting services.

Olive felt called to be a priest from a young age and was among the first women to be ordained. She served as an Assistant Curate at St Michael’s church in Harrow Weald and then at St Martin’s church in Gospel Oak before completing a post-graduate course at Birmingham University in pastoral studies.

Returning to Enfield, Olive worked as an ecumenical community deaconess and minister, supported by seven Enfield churches from different denominations; one of the first such posts in the country. As part of this work, Olive set up a neighbourhood scheme helping people in need, a pop-in centre for over-60s and a bereavement service.

On retirement, she joined the team at St Andrew’s church in Enfield in a voluntary capacity and served with them for over 26 years. Despite being on her third retirement, she continues to offer spiritual direction and do pastoral work. She was awarded the Mellitus Medal in 2015 by the Bishop of London, in recognition of her substantial contribution to the Christian life of London.

Olive will be officially presented with the Medal of the Order of the British Empire by the Lord Lieutenant of Greater London and be invited to a Buckingham Palace Garden party later in the year.

The Revd Olive Cope commented:

“Being recognised in this way is an utter surprise. Since the Church is here to serve the world, this work within the Church and serving Enfield has been the best job I could ever have.”

The Bishop of Edmonton, the Right Revd Rob Wickham commented:

“Olive has clearly supported thousands of people in her long and distinguished pioneering ministry. Her sense of duty and service to the community of Enfield, inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ, is a great encouragement to the Church and the wider community. I am delighted that her contribution has been recognised in this way.”

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