Sister Joan Hudspeth

hop picking ministryJoan was based at St Paul’s in the Worcester Diocese, and worked with Sister Foster in the hop fields during the season. Sister Foster was in charge of the team Joan was part of. Sister Foster and Sister Firman drove the team around the different farms on a regular round. Mornings were spent in the fields talking with the pickers who always kept on picking as they talked and would share everything with them, sometimes very personal things. They also brought their children to them if they were sick, for help, even though they had no medical training and often limited knowledge.

In the evenings the team would visit the pickers at their living accommodation, which was often very poor, or they would show the magic lantern pictures on the wall of a barn and told stories, usually parables. They got big crowds. Later the mobile cinema came to the hop fields driven by Captain Bill Thompson.

When they held Sunday school for the children they would bang a tin lid and they would come running. The mums sat around outside. They told stories and had an agreement with the ice cream man that he didn’t sound his chimes until Sunday school was over.