Reverend Greg Smith
I became Rector of Pontesbury and Stiperstones on 10th Feb 2021, having been ordained in 1999 and served the whole of my ministry in the Diocese of Coventry. I came to Shropshire knowing the beauty of the hills and surrounding countryside, only to discover that it was matched by the warmth of the people.
I am married to Fran, who has always been actively involved in church life, usually in offering generous hospitality. We have four grown up children, scattered throughout the land and three young grandsons. We have a West Highland Terrier, Daisy, who loves people and also has a ministry of hospitality.
My strengths are in prayer, pastoral care and preaching. My weaknesses are in administration and attention to detail. I am told I am good at remembering names. My passion is for everyone of whatever background to know how much God loves them and for the church to be a place of welcome to all.
In recent years, I have preferred to call myself an open-evangelical, by which I mean I have never lost my passion for Scripture or my conviction of its importance as a guide for our lives; but also that the doctrines derived from Scripture must be addressed afresh by each generation in the light of new understandings.
My interests are walking, running, reading, drama/theatre and sport. Fran’s are cooking, family and a glass of red wine.
Organist and Choirmaster
Dr Paul Bracken, BSc, MA, PhD
Paul came to St George’s in 2020, having moved here from Nottinghamshire after a career in teaching in school, college and latterly at the University of Nottingham. He has Lay Ministry qualifications in Music and Worship, and many years experience as a church musician, notably 5 years as organist and choirmaster at St Giles, West Bridgford (2015-20). Paul has interests in composition, in early music (particularly trobador and trouvère song, and the choral music of the 16th and 17th centuries) and was a regular contributor to the early music journal The Consort for 10 years. These interests are reflected in Paul’s work with the choir – he has introduced Gregorian Chant as well as some of his own 4 and 5-part pieces and arrangements into the liturgy at St George’s, taking the choir in a new direction which they seem to be really enjoying. Paul also plays the piano professionally, offering a wide repertoire of jazz/swing/blues and popular classics for wedding receptions/corporate functions/conferences under the stage name Paul Ricard. (www.paulricardpiano.com)
Other Church Officers
Church Warden – Allen Marsden
When we moved to Pontesbury in 2007, our neighbours very kindly introduced Margaret and me to St. George’s church. We received a warm welcome which soon helped us feel part of the community. I became a regular worshipper. Now, as Assistant Churchwarden, I do what I can to support the Churchwardens and the Ministry team. For me, a high priority is to ensure that regulars and visitors are made to feel welcome and valued at St. George’s. I am also keen to see this extended to all who live in the Pontesbury area, young and old, so that they may find God in their everyday lives and see St. George’s church as more than just a lovely building.
Church Warden Mary Worral (Order of St Ethelbert)
Also Friday Club and Youth Ministry
I have worked and worshipped at St George’s Church for a long time. I am now in my 74th year.
I was previously a church warden here for six years. This was a very enjoyable time, it was a great honour to serve the people and God within such a lovely church.
I have worked with children and young people for most of the last forty years. I have been a leader with the Friday Club, a group for young people aged 5 onwards. We used to say primary school age. This has been very rewarding work, to be able to share the love of God with these young people and to guide them to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. We have shared so many happy times.
I was also part of a youth group for quite some time.
I have been a member of the Mothers union for over forty years too. A lot of the work among the congregation and the wider community could be classed as work for this group.
I am a member of the L M D G . This is the Local Ministry Group for the church. It is good to be able to plan services for worship, to be able to plan and start new ideas for the ministry of the church.
It was a real honour to receive an award from the Diocese for the years of work completed. I was really humbled to receive this, when I have simply been doing my ministry work. The award is that of St. Ethelburt. I wear this award with pride.
I have been an active member of the church whenever we have held large functions involving the village community. I have worked to hold the Festival of Trees and Cribs. This has now been successful for 21 years, I have organized Exhibitions and sales of Art. Both these events together with fetes and other minor events are part of the wider community and this is so good.
May God give me strength and health to continue my ministry here at St. George ’s Church.
Treasurer – Gerald Worral
Secretary to PCC – Val Butterworth
I have been a member of St. George’s congregation for around 45 years, having been greatly involved with choir activities but also having worked with children’s groups through Sunday activities, Holiday Clubs and workshops. My main activity with young people has been as a founding member of Little Dragons Under Fives Group which has been in existence since 2006 and which regularly caters for 30+ toddlers and their Carers.
As Secretary to the PCC I attend Meetings of the Standing Committee and assemble the Agenda for future PCC Ordinary and Special Meetings, issuing the said Agenda and arrangements for meetings to members of the PCC; recording the Minutes at all meetings of the PCC and issuing these to Members; keeping members informed of various aspects of Diocesan procedures.
Early in the year I gather information from the various church bodies towards the compilation of the Report for the Annual Parochial Church Meeting (APCM), including information about St. George’s Church – the property and its finances, its personnel and the general life of the church and its various organisations.