Maundy Money honour

First published on: 28th March 2024

Many congratulations to The Rev Canon Gordon Oliver and Mrs Ursula Melhuish, who are the recipients of this year's Maundy Money. 

This special honour from the Monarch, is reserved for longstanding members of the Church and is given in recognition of the Christian service each has given to the Church and their communities over many years.

The annual ceremony is inspired by the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.

Read more about this year's service

The Maundy Money

This year, Her Majesty The Queen is distributing the Royal Maundy gifts on behalf of His Majesty The King at a service in Worcester Cathedral (Thursday 28 March).

Seventy-five men and 75 women from around the country will receive the ceremonial coins.

Each recipient receives two purses: one red and one white.

A white purse with Maundy coins laid out

The white purse contains a set of specially minted silver Maundy coins equivalent in value to the age of the Monarch.

The red purse contains two commemorative coins, symbolising the Sovereign's historic gift of food and clothing. 

An unexpected recognition

Both of the recipients nominated from the Diocese of Rochester this year have shown longevity of service and dedication to their Christian calling.

The Rev Canon Gordon Oliver is a retired member of clergy, who has served in a diverse range of parish settings.

He has taught practical theology in seminaries and has previously led the ministry and training department in the Diocese of Rochester.

Canon Gordon and his daughter Anna outside Rochester Cathedral on her ordination day

Photo: Canon Gordon Oliver with his daughter the Rev Anna Drew on her ordination day and his 50th anniversary to the priesthood.

This year he celebrated 50 years as an ordained priest, with the anniversary occurring on the same day his daughter was ordained in Rochester Cathedral.

Read an interview with Gordon and his daughter Anna

Reflecting on his nomination, Gordon said:

"I am honoured to be invited to receive the Royal Maundy at Worcester Cathedral this year. ‘Maundy’ comes from mandatum – Jesus’ command to his disciples that they show their love for him by showing their love for each other through practical service.

"I have accepted the invitation on behalf of the countless people, much more deserving than me, who have expressed their faith over a lifetime of service to people and communities.

" I also think it is very funny that I should receive this invitation. I thought Royal Mandy was only distributed to very old people – then I looked in the mirror!"

Mrs Melhuish – now in her 90s - has been in Rochester all her life and grew up locally. She and her parents were associated with the Cathedral from when she was a small child.

She has been a steward and a welcomer/volunteer in the Cathedral for decades and is involved in local charities and the King’s School Rochester.  

We give thanks for the dedication and service of both Gordon and Ursula, and for all those being honoured this year.

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