In 2016, Bishop Christopher instituted a diocesan award in the name of St Thomas á Becket, patron saint of the Portsmouth Cathedral. The St Thomas award was created to mark notable Christian service in the church and wider society. On Sunday 7th May 2017, the award was presented to 10 individuals from across the Portsmouth Diocese.

During the service, Bishop Christopher spoke about the huge contribution of the recipients, and many others around our diocese, in “working to build up the physical stones of a church building, or building up the living stones of the Body of Christ, or serving Christ in others in the community”. He explained that it is impossible to describe any of these as of greater importance than another, arguing that “The aim is the same: That of building the Kingdom of God”. Recipients of the award, therefore, work in a wide variety of areas of the church and, in many cases, cover all three of these aspects.

Among this year’s recipients, Jenny Tait was awarded this prestigious award for her commitment and dedication to youth work and discipleship. Jenny has been involved in youthwork for many years and is currently leading The Friday Group, a house group style group for 14-18 year olds which is run jointly between St James’ Church in Clanfield; All Saints Church in Catherington and St Wilfrid’s Church.

At each meeting, which Jenny leads with the help of Robin Jones and Stephen Bolton, she prepares a delicious meal (if you haven’t tried her chili you are missing out!), before the group begins the session. In these sessions, we have looked at Pete Grieg’s Prayer Course, alcohol, dealing with stress and pornography to name just a few. We always have lots of time to discuss these topics in small groups where Jenny provides a safe, friendly environment for us to share our feelings as well as teaching us about the biblical teachings of each of these topics.

But Jenny’s welcoming, supportive nature doesn’t just extend to these sessions. She is always happy to chat if we have problems or just want someone to talk to. Her encouragement and her loving personality makes her someone that we all know we can depend on for support and a friendly face.

Having experienced Jenny’s dedication and commitment first hand, The Friday Group were delighted to hear that Jenny was to receive this award and many made it to the cathedral to celebrate with her.

Photo: Jenny Tait with members of The Friday Group at Portsmouth Cathedral.

For more information on the Friday Youth Group, please visit

St Thomas Award