Big Lunch success for Gardner Memorial

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Gardner Memorial Church hosted a community lunch in St Ninian’s Square to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation on Sunday.

For the organising committee the big question was - apart from “would it rain” - how many folk would be there? However, things turned out very well indeed.

It did not rain and the number of chairs and tables set out matched the number of folk who came along to enjoy a picnic lunch and for a couple of hours the volunteer lollipop man was kept busy escorting people across Southesk Street.

It all made a very colourful sight with bunting fluttering from the trees and the tables decked with union jack napkins along with a supply of golden paper crowns.

Yet more colour was added with the arrival of members of the operatic society, in full costume, who circulated distributing sweets, lollipops, banter and good cheer.

There was a music in the air, as well, with keyboard music by Isobel Slater and jazz from the talented youngsters in the band from the high school.

The air cadets were there as well, looking extremely smart in their uniforms and ready and willing to serve tea, coffee and juice most efficiently and courteously.

Face-painting was on the go and there were numerous attractive raffle prizes, generously donated by local businesses, to be won.

There was a bake stall as well, with money raised going to defray costs.

This lunch, and last year’s Big Jubilee Lunch, were part of the Gardner Memorial’s strategy to bring the church into the community.

They were steps on the road to the goal of the time when the church buildings will be altered and adapted to make them more accessible and more suitable for present day needs.

In the meantime, the congregation fills every week with purposeful activity.

Apart from Sunday worship, there are midweek meetings, some purely social, others related to worship.

A recently formed group is ‘Toddler Time’, a morning meeting for young parents and the wee ones. On Sundays, children are always made to feel welcome and they participate in the service with percussion accompaniment whenever there is an upbeat hymn.

This emphasis on the younger ones has meant that recent christenings, or services of blessing, have been large, happy family gatherings.

The fact cannot be ignored that these are difficult times for the Church of Scotland in general and the Gardner congregation has been much encouraged recently by a small, but significant increase in numbers and also by the fact that, in the last financial year, income was more than expenditure, not by much, but most welcome for all that.