Laurence Meering. Rector here between 2007 and 2014, a popular man of the people, Laurence, wanted nothing more than to be able to continue his work showing people something of Jesus, and, once he retired, to immerse himself more into the community and less in the trappings of inevitable administration. Let us hope that retirement to South Petherton allows Laurence & Cathie to continue their valuable ministry.
Renowned for his sense of humour, Laurence was a spirited member of the Players, performing, writing and hosting for many of the performances.
One of his ambitions for the church – a new loo, will remain a challenge for the next Rector!
Here we see Laurence outside our aging, but beautiful St. Mary’s Church.
“I was educated at St Lawrence College in Ramsgate (my father’s old school – he named me after the school, but got the spelling wrong. The education in his time can’t have been brilliant). The junior English master who joined at the same time produced a school Shakespeare play, which gave me a love of acting and a love of the Bard. In King Lear, I played Cornwall, who in Act 3 gouges out the Duke of Gloucester’’s eye. I had a lamb’s eye hidden in my palm, which I was meant to drop and squelch underfoot. But in one performance, I didn’t quite tread on it accurately enough – the eye, instead of squashing, squirted out across the stage and into the lap of a lady on the front row. (I was getting prepared for Mursley Players even then).
One important event that also happened during these years was that I became a Christian. – I went to a summer camp in the Quantock Hills, run by Scripture Union. The first year, I didn’t really listen to the talks at all, but in my second summer, I began wondering why all these helpers were giving up time and energy for us teenagers, and so I began to listen. – It made me realise that this Jesus was a real person, a person who loved me and had died for me. It became a simple mental and spiritual transaction to say – yes, Jesus, I want to follow you ; will you have me in your kingdom?
After Uni. (I did a degree in Biochemistry, which I found incredibly boring), I went into teaching: Maths and Chemistry, at King Edwards school at Bath. This was also the time when I married my university sweetheart, Cathie. We had actually met on top of a bus, on the way to a Christian event in Manchester; she was the daughter of a Devon milk farmer, so our marriage took place in a remote country village church, smaller even than St Nicholas at Little Horwood.
Gradually, we realised that God was calling us into ministry, and I trained at Trinity College Bristol, while Cathie looked after our two very lively sons. (One of them is now repeating history – having taught Maths for several years, he is training at the same college).
Since then I have served in several parishes – middle-class suburbia (Bristol) – we were living in a tiny curate’s house, made more squashed by the arrival of our third son -, a town swamped by armed forces personnel (Portsmouth), deep country (Devon), working class suburbia (Crawley), and market town (Aylesbury), before ending up here in Mursley. As a curate in Bristol, I was waiting for the arrival of a funeral at the church gates, when a Rolls-Royce drove up, and the actor David Tomlinson, of Mary Poppins and Mursley fame, emerged – he was looking for the grave of WG Grace’s mother. He wasn’t very pleased that I had to shoo him out of the way or he would have been trapped in by the hearse.
What have I enjoyed about being a clergyman? – I have the opportunity of going into the houses of everyone from the highest (almost) to the lowest in the land, as well as ministering to people in hospitals, prisons, on board ship, in council chambers, before a magistrate, in a Tesco car park. I love telling people the story of Jesus, and showing how it can apply to their lives (if you want to know, just ask me!). I particularly love the opportunity of going into schools – next year, the first children I baptised when I came here will be moving into Year 3. Has it been worth it? – As one clergyman said – the pay isn’t brilliant, but the fringe benefits are out of this world! I have been able to serve a God who I believe loves each one of us, and to serve the people among whom I live. It’s a fantastic reason to get out of bed each morning!”
Laurence Meering retired on 1st June 2014.