Church emphasis on youth

Memories of this summer will linger for a bit in the minds of the members of the Gardner Memorial Church.

Why? Because it was a very active season and it can be considered a successful one, too.

The Big Jubilee Lunch, a most profitable three-day sale, a barbecue and a strawberry tea on a lovely sunny day were all events which brought people together- members of the congregation and their friends in the community.

When summer turns to autumn and the school session begins, the pattern of activity changes and the church moves on.

The emphasis, this September, is on youth involvement and there has already been some early success. An effort is being made to draw youngsters and their parents to the church family.

The Sunday School has already increased in number and a programme to support the parents of very young children is in place. There is now a rota of volunteers who will come to the aid of anxious parents and assist them to slip quietly out of church and into the hall along with the crying baby or the bored and restless toddler if the need arises.

A move to involve the children in the morning service was the idea of having a member of the Sunday School assist in the taking up of the collection.

Along with the Cathedral, the Gardner Memorial has been running one-off holiday events called Messy Church, a nationwide initiative to bring the Bible to school children through craft and music and good fun generally. The next local Messy Church will take place in the Gardner Memorial Hall on Monday, October 8, with a promising theme of Noah’s Ark.

On Sunday, several aspects of worship came together. Friendship was one aspect and members used specially printed invitation cards to ask a friend to come with them.

Along with the ‘Back to Church’ theme there was a baptism and the congregation made its familiar promise to provide loving support for the child and its parents. Yet one more aspect is the annual giving of thanks for the bounty of earth.

Not so long ago, this used to take form of the Harvest Thanksgiving, but it has been recognised that, in modern times, a harvest is not only garnered from the land, but from the sea, forest, mine and quarry and much more.

All these aspects come together in one hour of morning worship under the title Celebration Sunday. There will be an opportunity after the service to remember those parts of the world less fortunate in natural resources as there will be a retiring collection for Christian Aid.

The vision for the future of the Gardner Memorial is for the church to become both involved in and of service to the community and to that end the first steps have been taken in a scheme to open up the church, making it generally more accessible and more fit for contemporary use.

This is not a purpose speedily achieved, but things are gradually moving from an idea to a reality.

Within a more realistic time scale, Christmas is coming and with December comes the annual Christmas bake sale (and a great deal more as well.)

For the present, a note in the diary that the sale will be held on December 8.

In the meantime, the Gardner Memorial welcomes one and all to Sunday morning services, mid-week worship groups, soup lunches and coffee and chat sessions.

The Church Office is open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.