Monday, 2 November 2015

Catching up with the saints in Christ Jesus who live in Petts Wood

With Rev Juliet and the stewards Nana and Nadia
It was a real joy to lead and share in worship at Petts Wood Methodist Church last Sunday.  It brought back so many memories. I was three when I moved to Petts Wood with my Mum and Dad. The church wasn’t yet built. It started in a shop, and we met in the Lakeswood Hall. My Dad, Norman Smith, was very involved in the plans for the new church. He was particularly excited when he managed to get hold of an old cinema organ (he always like a bargain!).  Peter was 21 and I was 22 when we got married here - Peter’s godmother played the organ and she found it very confusing – we kept getting unexpected bird whistles!  (The organ is still there - but sadly its eccentricities have been modified!).

Lunch after the service with Daphne Beauchamp, Alan and Margaret Tompkins, Brian and Heather Neville.
One of my abiding memories of being at school, Newstead Wood in Orpington, is the Annual Prize Giving, which always began with the same reading:  ‘Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.’ (Ecclesiasticus 44.1)  It didn't occur to me at the time, but what an astonishing way to inspire 600 girls!
I want to praise, and say thank you to, the faithful women and men of Petts Wood Methodist Church – who are all saints in Christ Jesus! Without you, I would not be where I am today.  Everyone who has come to this church on a Sunday over the years has played a part in my faith journey, because without you the church would not exist, and it was here that I found faith in Christ, and came to know him as my Lord and Saviour.  Among those who planted the seeds of faith in me were Mrs Higgins, my Sunday School teacher when I was 10-11. Alan Tompkins who taught me in Seniors.  Douglas and Mary Lupton who led the youth group in their home on a Sunday night.  There are so many others I could name – the Atkins, Lockwoods, Beauchamps, Readers, Wilkes, Nevilles.  
With Anne Lockwood, Karen (Warhurst), Angela (Woolley), Rev Juliet and Gillian Tomkins

It was wonderful to find that Petts Wood now has a multi-media system.  I remember the thrill when David Cruise arrived as a young minister (in 1965?), and became the first person to use visual aids for the children’s address – very exciting! 
Today I live in Crewe, just round the corner from Stuart Rhodes, the minister at Petts Wood who made me a member when I was 16. It has been a joy to share with Stuart and Veronica all the news - about people Stuart remembers better than I do. He has a phenomenal memory!
With a full heart, I can truly say with Paul, 'I thank my God every time I remember you' (Philippians 1.3)

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