Double Celebration At St Mary’s Parish Church

Canon Paul Miller and Elizabeth Legg

Canon Paul Miller and Elizabeth Legg

One of St Mary’s Parish Church’s most devoted supporters has been presented with the St Piran cross.

Elizabeth Legg was first awarded it by the Bishop of Truro at a service on the mainland on March 9th, but yesterday islanders were able to recognise Elizabeth’s award at a service at the church.

For the past 60 years she has served on the Parochial Church Council and is currently the Treasurer of all six Anglican churches on the islands.

Elizabeth also sang in the choir from 1947 to 2011 and ran the youth club and Guides groups. The St Piran Cross marks her great contribution to the church and the community.

The service yesterday also marked 40 years since Chaplain Canon Paul Miller’s ordination.

Paul says few clergy are usually able to mark so many years while still in post, because priests tend to be ordained later in life. He was a young 25-year-old man when his ordination took place.

And he says he’s seen some significant changes since that happened.

One of the biggest has been the ordination of women since 1994. They now make up 30% of priests in the church – a huge and very welcome impact says Paul.

During his time in the church he’s seen the national decline in attendance figures and feels it is time to change the traditional relationship that the church has with the community.

He says some people view it like going to the dentist – something that’s painful or that you only do twice a year for a check-up.

The church needs to be more inclusive of people, says Paul, and go out to residents. Paul says if Jesus visited Scilly now, he wouldn’t be in the church, but “would down at the Mermaid having a pint.”

Paul has previously worked in Devon and Kent and unusually, most of those churches have been called St Mary’s.