18 June 2015
Christians recognised in the Queen's birthday honours list
The Queen has honoured five leading figures in the Christian community as part her Birthday Honours this month.
Those awarded Honours include: Andreas Whittam Smith; first church estates commissioner, Simon Hughes; a Liberal Democrat politician, Christina Rees; writer and member of the General Synod, Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Church and Maureen Greaves; a Church Army evangelist.
Smith and Rees have been honoured for their service to the Church of England, and Angaelos for his contribution towards international religious freedom. Hughes has been honoured for public and political service, whereas Greeves has been honoured for service to community in north Sheffield.
Andreas Whittam Smith (Knighthood)
Andrew Smith worked as a financial journalist before starting The Independent newspaper in 1986. He was the newspaper's first editor and edited the paper for eight years. He has also been the president of the Board of Film Classification and chairman of the Financial Ombudsman Service. In his current role as first church estates commissioner he is responsible for the Church's investments.
Simon Hughes (Knighthood)
Simon Hughes cares passionately about human rights and justice. He trained as a barrister before becoming a Liberal Democrat MP in 1983. From 2010-2014 he was the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats. During the coalition with the Conservatives, Hughes served as a minister in the Department of Health and as rail minister. He held his seat in Bermondsey and Old Southwark for 32 years before losing it this year in the general election.
Bishop Angaelos (Order of the British Empire-OBE)
Angaelos is general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, the largest domination in the Middle East. He has spent nearly 20 years in the UK. During this time he has provided guidance to the Christian community as well as developing the Coptic youth ministry.
Angaelos has also been an advocate for the Church in the Middle East and particularly for his homeland, Egypt. He has made press statements, produced articles, and given talks on international justice, human rights and religious freedom.
In addition to his role as bishop, Angealos is also a member of the Church of England General Synod, director of Churches Together in England and chair of the Council of the Oriental Orthodox Churches in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
Christina Rees (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
Christina Rees is a writer, broadcaster and public speaker as well as being a member of the General Synod of the Church of England. She campaigned for the introduction of female bishops and has written for The Guardian. She served as the chair for Women and The Church (WATCH) from 1996-2010. She has also served for 11 years as the director general for The Churchfield Trust.
Maureen Greaves (British Empire Medal)
Maureen Greaves has worked tirelessly for the Church Army as an evangelist and lay preacher in Sheffield. She came to the media spotlight after the death of her husband on Christmas Eve 2012. Alan, a lay preacher in his late sixties was attacked on his way to St Saviour's Church, High Green, to play the organ for midnight mass. After the trial, Maureen publically expressed her forgiveness for the murderers of her husband and her heartfelt desire that the two offenders repent.
Alan had retired early from social work to help his wife, working hard to serve their community. Just weeks before the attack, they had proudly opened a new community project, which serves as a foodbank, an impromptu cafe, laundry service, and sells clothes and furniture at a very low cost for struggling families. Read more of Maureen's story: eauk.org/idea/finding-forgiveness-in-grief.cfm