Caversham Heights Methodist Church has never looked more resplendent than on its Centenary Weekend, 20th to 21st June. The church vestibule was skilfully arranged to display the people and the highlights of the whole of its 100 years’ history since its opening on 23rd June 1909 until and including today. So there was much rejoicing as members and visitors alike recalled happy, and sometimes spectacular, events of times past.
In the church itself there was a Flower Festival, lovingly created by members and friends to present a glorious, breathtaking blend of vibrant colours, which brought great delight to all who came to see it. The ingenuity of the individual window displays showed great talent in flower arranging that is to be admired.
The church hall was full of a variety of different talents, from cross-stitch to needlework, paintings to photography and many more. Here again, the wealth of talent on display was outstanding and it was good to have time to enjoy it in full as the whole display was open to the public from 10am to 4pm on the Saturday and again after the morning service on the Sunday.
There was a steady stream of visitors all day on the Saturday and it was good to welcome back many friends from former years. Whole families came together for the occasion and it was lovely to see groups of former Squash members, former collectors for the JMA (Junior Missionary Association), and former members of the Network Women’s Fellowship renewing friendships and catching up with their news.
On the Sunday it was exciting to have to queue up to get into the church service at which the visiting preacher was former Minister the Revd the Lord Leslie Griffiths of Pembrey and Burry Port. There was not a single spare seat as Leslie preached with his unique blend of humour and spiritual challenge. He recalled the celebration in Caversham Court on the occasion of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee‘, as well as several humorous events in the life of the church. He said that the DNA of the church is ‘Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.’ He continued, “It is time to unpack that loving God means loving him with your whole self, not just by cheque, and loving your neighbour means who needs you, needs you now and needs you most. If we can’t love our neighbours whom we can see, how can we love God whom we cannot see,” He extolled good preaching and the importance of having the Eucharist in the main church service. Reminding everyone that decade after decade, loving God and loving our neighbour show a love that knows no cost, and now we must go forward to the next 100 years or there will be nothing for others to celebrate. “The church is like a big ship waiting to be launched. Now the adventure begins. God bless you and all who sail in you.”
At the end of the service, the Centenary cake was cut by one of the oldest members of the church, Myrtle Moorey, and one of the youngest and most regular members of the Sunday School, Lucy Dawson. Then this truly wonderful weekend ended with a very happy and delicious hog roast lunch for all the church family in the garden of two members of the church.
[Photographs by the getreading Newspaper (top right and centre), and Peter Bean.]