Busy year for anniversary church
A Local Ecumenical Partnership is finding its full voice as it celebrates its 50th anniversary
Christ Church in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, was born in 1967 and has organised a range of activities to mark this anniversary.
Its first social event saw the Ecumenical Choir perform the musical 'The Grain of Mustard Seed', a musical which tells the story of Sunday School pioneer and Gloucester man Robert Raikes. It was first performed by the church more than 30 years ago.
In February the church then held a ‘very lively’ general knowledge quiz based on the last 50 years. In addition, each week it is creating a display for each year since 1967, some of it church history and some of it personal memories. This will culminate in a 2017 display at Christmas.
‘This has proved so interesting and we look forward to it each week,’ said pastoral secretary Margaret Marshall.
She added that the busy year will continue with past ministers returning to lead worship and the heads of the three denominations coming in October when the official anniversary service will take place.
The church’s roots actually date long before 1967 – right back to 1662 in fact, when dissenters met in secret in a clearing called Colliers Wood in the forest. The first church (Independent) was built in 1687 and called Forest Green. It was moved twice, with the final move nearer to Nailsworth.
There was a split in 1705 over infant baptism and eventually a Baptist chapel was built in 1715 at Shortwood. This building was also enlarged before eventually being moved to Nailsworth in 1881.
After much prayer and discussion it was decided to bring the two churches back together as one in 1967 to form Christ Church.
The Nailsworth Methodists joined in 1974. Since its formation the church has had ministers from each of the three denominations.
‘Talks began as early as the 1930s to bring the two churches back together, explained Margaret, ‘but it didn’t come about until 1967, and that is why we are celebrating this year and the two churches united under the name of Christ Church.
‘It is going to be a very busy year.’