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July & August 2011

By Ian Cardinal - Posted on 01 August 2011


Rectory Ramblings


Lawrence Austin


            You will all know, by this time, that Lawrence sadly passed away at the North Staffs Hospital on Sunday evening 15th May. His had been a relatively short illness, just 11 weeks from start to finish: as well as being a great servant of the Church, our Town has lost one of its great characters – and our love and prayers go to Jean, David, Kevin and Jane and all their families as they adjust to life without him

            Lawrence came from Longton, being born there in 1928. He first met Jean at a dance at the town hall, where she tells me she was rather put off by a young man, seeming the “worse for wear” as they say. Nevertheless he persevered and asked her out, treating her to the theatre with chocolates and flowers – only later admitting that this was part of a bet with his mates for the princely sum of 5 shillings! 3 years later he asked her Father (very nervously) for her hand in marriage and they had a real rock of a marriage, through good times and bad for nearly 60 years. Sadly they have just missed celebrating their Diamond wedding in 2012

            Lawrence’s deep Christian faith began in the Methodist Church. But when they moved to Stone, Jean was worshipping at St Michael’s, then in the incumbency of the Reverend Tony Harris. Eventually he was persuaded to come along with Jean, and was Confirmed into the Church of England in due course. A huge part of his life was then to follow, becoming Churchwarden, then eventually the Verger some 12 years or so ago. When I came to apply (as we do, in this modern age) to be Rector of Stone with Aston, the Parish profile included a picture of Lawrence in his Verger’s robes with the legend “The Verger is the Rector’s right hand man”  How every true those words were – and Lawrence’s hard work, good sense and sense of fair play were well known to everyone. All from the Funeral Directors to the smallest child knew Lawrence and he was simply a lynchpin to the place!

            Not that Lawrence was saintly, in the plaster cast mould: he was known at home for pilfering Jean’s chocolates! And at Church he would literally shake with laughter as he made a cheeky comment, especially to Sally as a newly ordained Curate here. He would look at you over the top of his glasses if he thought you were trying to “get one over” on him. But his deep faith was his bedrock – and indeed it sustained him till the end. It was my privilege to anoint him both before and after his death – and he showed no fear, having a certainty about where he was going and into whose hands he was passing.

            We shall miss his more than we can say, but we can only say “may he rest in Peace and rise in glory.” Our love and prayers surround Jean and the family as we give thanks for his life and witness


Ian Cardinal






8am Stone

9.15am Aston

10.45am Stone

July 3rd

Ted Pick

Mary Babb

Civic service

10th July

Annette Hawkins


Richard Moss

17th July

Roy Ball

Mike Ducie

Margaret Moss

24th July


Lin Davies

Steph Cardinal

31st July


Sheila Howells


7th August

Ted Pick

Bryan Fletcher

Dennis Abbott

14th August

Annette Hawkins


Sue Coles

21st August

Roy Ball

Berwyn Babb

Bob Davis

28th August



Nichola Abbott

4th September


Mary Babb

Andy King


Civic service

3rd July will be the annual Civic service when we welcome our new Town Mayor, Cllr Mrs June Price in her newly elected role. Our congratulations of course go to her and we look forward as usual to this happy occasion


Healing Eucharist

The next Healing service will be held at St Michael & St Wulfad’s at 6.30pm on Sunday 10th July. Holy Communion with the opportunity for anointing, the laying on of hands and prayer for healing of all kinds