Monday, 14 December 2009
Our Centenary Year
We are so nearly at the end of the Centenary Year (2009) at Caversham Heights Methodist Church that I thought I would attempt to sum it up on my blog.
It has certainly been a very good Centenary year, beginning with a Concert ‘A Hundred Years of Entertainment – something from every decade’ and the Covenant Service in January. As well as our Annual Pancake Party in February, we were thrilled to welcome the National Methodist Youth Brass Band and even managed to supply enough beds for them to sleep off-floor! Their concert (and shared worship the next day) were a real highlight of the year. March was a very special month when we had the Women’s World Day of Prayer service, followed a week later by a visit for the President of Conference, the Revd Stephen Poxon, together with the District Chair, the Revd Dr Andrew Wood.
On the following Thursday, the ‘Riding Lights Theatre Company’ performed their very challenging production of ‘Redemption Song’ which gave us much food for thought and on the next Sunday our guest preacher was the Revd Dr Mark Wakelin, Connexional Secretary for Internal Affairs. A very powerful 8 days! Following our Easter celebrations at the beginning of April, we much enjoyed the preaching of former Minister here, the Revd Terry Harris, now enjoying retirement in Devon.
In May we hosted the Churches Together United Christian Aid Service, and later were inspired by the preaching of two guest preachers, the new Anglican Rector of Caversham, the Revd Dan Tyndall, and Bishop Crispian Hollis, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth
June was THE Centenary month with ‘Items of Special Interest’ in the church’s 100 years’ history displayed all month, and a Flower/Art Exhibition in the Hall, a Reminiscences Evening, the Sunday Starters’ Anniversary, and guest preachers, the Revd Jackie Case (who grew up in this church) and the Revd Dr Lord Leslie Griffiths (a former Minister of the church), who was the preacher for the actual Centenary
Anniversary, when the cake was cut and there was a hog roast lunch in the garden of two members’ home. A day to remember!
July was concerned with saying ‘Goodbye’ to a much-loved Minister, the Revd Dermot Thornberry and his wife Charlene, with a Farewell Party and a Circuit farewell service.
We began September with our new Minister, the Revd Jenny Dowding, who was recovering after 12 weeks in a straitjacket following an accident, and our Harvest Weekend with guest preacher Professor Sir John Marsh. Then in October there were three guest preachers – Major Samuel Edgar (Salvation Army), Chairman of West Midlands Free Church Federal Council, Deacon Vic Downs (a very welcome returnee), and Mr. John Bell, former Vice-President of Conference.
November began with our Autumn Fair in aid of the Fund for World Mission and ended with a concert by the Reading Male Voice Choir in aid of the Racecourse Community School in Zambia (whose teachers are paid by our church) and where we have our twin church. In between these there were two guest preachers – the Revd Andy Moffoot, who has served as a mission partner in Kenya, and former Minister, the Revd Rosemary Fletcher and her husband James Rowley, who made a popular all day visit just before returning to Sri Lanka where they are serving as Mission Partners.
Finally, for our last guest preacher this month we were privileged to have the Revd Professor Frances Young, OBE, the eminent theologian and author, and our final service of the year will be led by the Revd Dr John Ogden, who is ‘sitting down’ now and the service will also take the form of a farewell Thank you service for his ministry here. So ends our year of centenary celebrations. (Rachel Peirce’s wedding almost seemed part of the centenary.)