Thursday, 5 July 2007

50th anniversary: Frances Scuse (nee Mace-Hardyman) remembers

I first entered the new church before it opened while I was at Sunday School in the old church in Herbert Road aged 8. Our Sunday School teacher walked us all aloud and took us in the back way so my first view of the inside was from coming down the steps from the vestry. It was just so light and bright and the painting was so large and unlike anything I’d seen before. Once the new church was open the Sunday School moved to the vestry. I remember collecting four small texts and when four small texts had been collected they could be exchanged for a larger one.

Moving on from Sunday School I joined children’s church which met in the hall in Dallin Road every Sunday morning. This was run by Mr and Mrs Brown from Eaglesfield Road and Peter Brierley from Cleanthus Road. The prayers and readings were taken by the children and there was a harmonium which accompanied the hymns. There was encouragement to learn scripture such as the Ten commandments and The Beatitudes, which were written out on individual slips of paper and given out each week after reciting the previous week’s verse. At the end there was a prize for being able to recite them all. I still have my prizes of a Bible from September 1960 and a Prayer Book from January 1961 with their inscribed illuminated book plates. For a short while after the service Mrs Brown would hold a small prayer meeting in the side room where we could each say a special prayer for someone.

Peter Brierley organised special events for the children, amongst which I remember an action-packed Christmas party, a sports afternoon in Shrewsbury Park, and a treasure hunt around the streets on the hill. There was also an Easter Sunday when we had a breakfast in the hall of boiled eggs.

As I grew older I joined the choir where Mrs Phillips was a leading light and there was also her daughter Linda and my friend from Primary School days Diana Burrows. Choir practice was on a Friday night and was sometimes in the vestry or in the main church. The fee for singing at a wedding at this time was 2/6 [12p]. This was around 1963, as it was Diana who told me that President Kennedy had been shot, when I met her that Friday evening.

Around this time I joined the Youth Club which met in the old church in Herbert Road on a Saturday evening. This was run by Martin Sellick. There was a small snooker table and table tennis and a record player so we could take our own records to play. At the end of the evening there would be a quiet time for prayer. Martin organised Bank Holiday walks in the north Kent countryside, which we would reach by bus and train. Only on one occasion do I remember us getting lost and I don’t remember any bad weather.

On at least one of these ventures we were accompanied by one of the curates, the Rev Hill and his wife. She was lively and joined in most enthusiastically. They also held an evening group once a week at their home in Eglinton Hill, just an informal social gathering.

The other curate in residence at the same time was Rev Hewitt and his family. He organised a badminton group in the old Herbert Road church.

During the time the amiable Rev Brown was in charge. He rounded us up for confirmation classes which took place in the Vicarage front room. And every year there were the talents. A one pound note was given to those who wished to participate with the intention that it would be used to good effect and multiply, so that after the allotted time £10 would be given back.

There were the annual nativity plays and carol singing around the parish. We would forgather with lighted lanterns and visit a different area each evening, stopping at various points in the streets to sing and knock on doors with collection boxes. It was a wonderful time and on the final night we would return to someone’s house for a drink and hot mince pies.

Mr and Mrs Brown were still active in the Church and for a time they would hold extra meetings in their front room after the Sunday evening service.

From the early years I remember Miss Joyce who at one time I believe was in charge of the Sunday School. She lived opposite the Fire Station in Shrewsbury Lane and as she became more elderly she would be taken to church by car and she would sit in the front pew.

Although I was too young to participate there were trips organised to the Holy Land and also annual trips to Colwyn Bay.

All Saints was affiliated to the Girls’ Brigade movement which also met in the hut in Dallin Road. I was a Brownie and then a Guide and they met at the Methodist Church, so my loyalties were somewhat divided when I had to give my support at church parades.

And the only time I was aware of the balcony actually being needed was on the day of the Church dedication.

50th anniversary: memories from Mrs W Parker

I first joined All Saints in 1952 and enjoyed my time with Rev Trundley who confirmed me in 1953 also christened my daughter Colleen Powell who was in the children’s church late on with Doris and John Brown who were very kind to me. I was married in 1960 and went to live next door to Mrs Brown in Eaglesfield Road where made friends with Lillian and Bill Sentence. In 1966 I had twin boys who were christened by Mr Browne who was vicar at the time. I would have like to see them all at the service. The names I may forget but not the faces.

Mrs W Parker

50th Anniversary: Pat Turner (Rimington) remembers

All Saints Shooters Hill means a great deal to me. I was converted under the ministry of Billy Graham in 1966 and the present curate, Rev Hewitt visited me and encouraged me to go to All Saints. I met some wonderful friends there too who also encouraged me. I thank God particularly for Rev Hewitt’s help and that of his daughter Liz and her husband Dave who helped me in bible teaching. Also I thank God for Lillian and Bill Sentence who still encourage us and pray for us to this day. I thank God too for the minister the Rev Christopher Brown who ministered the word of God faithfully week by week which was also such a help to me in those days.

God led me into helping young people at the church and I learnt so much from them in those days.

Today I am still working with young people teaching the bible truths and reaching out to non Christians. I thank God for so many dear friends, I am sorry I cannot name them all, who prayed for me and were so patient with me as a young Christian. I am enclosing a picture of our wedding at All Saints in 1970. May the Lord continue to use you all and abundantly bless you all.

With our love from Pat and Bill Turner
(folk would remember me as Pat Rimington)

50th anniversary: Angela Burton

[Angela Burton's photos can be found on]
Dear Mr. Owen,
Thank you for your letter. I am sorry we can't join you on 19th February but am pleased that you are celebrating the 50 years since All Saints' Church was re-built. I am sending by post some photos that I hope might be of use, but I am sorry they are not very good.
I expect you will be wary of picking out too many people to mention by name but I wonder if you could find time for a brief tribute of remembrance of John and Doris Brown.
I was introduced to John and Doris Brown and the Children's Church by my friend Rosemary Smith. It was in the Children's Church that I understood the Gospel and believed in the Lord Jesus as my Saviour. There were doubtless many others and my immediate circle of friends from that time are all going on with the Lord: Pat Semple (nee Phillips); Valerie Akhurst (nee Pearcey) and Rosemary Barnard (nee Smith) who sadly died earlier this year of a brain tumour. The Browns always had open house and as we reached teens they organised "squashes" in their lounge (with Ribena to drink - what a treat!). If we needed to talk, they were always available with a word of wisdom and I'm sure much prayer, especially if we looked like going off the rails. I'm sure I speak for many in remembering them with gratitude to God for such faithful servants.
Yours sincerely in Christ
Angela Burton

50th anniversary: memories of Rachel Goh

Dear Harry,

Thank you very much for your kind invitation to the special service on 19th February at All Saints. I'm afraid we won't be able to attend on that day.

My believe my parents were there on 18 February 1956 when the foundation stone was laid - they are Bill & Lillian Sentance and were members of All Saints for many years while we lived in Shooters Hill when I was growing up. I am the youngest of their 5 children, and for our parents' 50th wedding anniversary on New Years Eve, I scanned in all their old photos and put them onto a DVD. I know I had some of my eldest brother and sister, Tricia and Andrew at the Sunday School at All Saints, when Mum and Dad were Sunday School teachers I think. I will send anything I can find that might be of use. When I was born in 1971, I think Mum was Sunday School teacher and I've even still got the A3 sheet of paper that all the Sunday School children signed to say congratulations! I went to Sunday School and Brownies up until we moved in 1979.

Sadly the next time I will be at All Saints is for the funeral of our lovely 'Auntie Betty' Winslow on 2nd Feb. She was a very treasured member of our extended family and remembered the birthdays and anniversaries, not only of us children, but of our children too - and there are a lot of us in total! We will all miss her.

Kind Regards

Rachel Goh.

50th Anniversary: Meg Oliver remembers

Memories of All Saints Church, Shooters Hill

George, my husband of a week and I arrived at All Saints on Sunday 7th July, 1956. George was doing his National Service in Colchester. We had taken a flat with Vic and Lily Read in Kinlet Road, where I lived during the week, and George came at weekends. I worked at Woolwich library, with occasional forays to Shrewsbury House Library.

I was busy at work during the week and enjoyed George’s leaves at weekends,and we attended the morning service together. But inevitably Sunday evening arrived, when we had to part. We would walk down Shooters Hill, and I would come into the evening service, while George continued on down to Woolwich station. I shall never forget the sense of love and warmth that enveloped me as I entered the church (still the old building) Soon I was involved in the service, and then afterwards Bill and Lillian Sentance would take me back to their flat for a coffee. This kindness helped me so much to cope with the weekly parting.

All Saints was also very important for me because it was here that I was prepared for confirmation. I had belonged to a Baptist Church in Lee, where we had been married, but we had decided, before our marriage that I would become an Anglican because of the seriousness and depth I found in the communion service. So Rev. Fred Pizzey prepared me and I was confirmed in Southwark Cathedral in November 1956. We both appreciated Mr. Pizzey’s ministry and I particularly remember his weekly comments on the collect for the Sunday (all of course completely new to me!) Incidentally we bought the Vicar’s roll top desk, which my son-in-law still uses.

By the time the service of dedication was held we had moved to Southend, where George had started his teaching career and we had a brand new baby, so we could not be present. However, we left a souvenir behind. We gave a bookstall to the church in gratitude for the fellowship and building-up we had received from the church.

We were for many years active members of St. Michael and All Angels, Westcliff-on-Sea where we led Sunday School, Pathfinders and CYFA groups (though not all at the same time!) We moved to our present address in 1992 and now belong to St. Helen’s, Stapleford, near Nottingham.
George is a Reader and I sing and help in various ways. We lead a House Group together. We praise God for all His blessings on our married life, and the part All Saints played at its beginning.
We pray God ‘s richest blessing on the church as it celebrates the past and looks forward to God at work in the future.

Meg Oliver married to George June 30th 1956
Attended All Saints July 1956 –May 1957

50th anniversary message from John Barnard

I was very interested to receive your note concerning the 50th anniversary celbrations,I well remember the laying of the foundation stone as well as the eventual consecration sevice 18 months later .At that time I was 21 years old and during my time at All Saints had been head choir boy in the old "Mission Hall" moving on to help Roy Boff with the Boy's Bible Class whilst the young lady (who latter became Mrs Barnard} :Rosemary Smith was in charge of the Girls class.
During those years I was very keen on photography and took several 'photos of the stone laying these plus many more of the actual consecration these were offered for sale to church members with the profits being donated to the church building fund.Thus I'm certain that copies of these pictures must by now be hidden in drawers all over the parish! I may indeed have copies here but please don't ask me where!
I'sad to report that Rosemary died on January 3 rd otherwise some of her rememberances could be included in this note.There are other folk who were in out "group" who you have probably written to who may be able to help you further. Certainly it was our connexion with ALL SAINTS that nurtured our faith and we all have many happy memories of our time at All Saints.
Should you think that I can help you more do not hesitate to contact me further. Although I hope to be in the UK in "spring" I shall not be there in time for the FEBRUARY 19 service but certainly hope that our Lords presencw
will be felt by all who attend, With best wishes John M Barnard