Patronal Festival weekend



Centenary Exhibition

On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September St. Michael's opened it doors for our Centenary Exhibition.Around the church were displays of photos and documents; these included displays of old Abbey Wood, the church, previous and current priests, church activities and the choir, both old and present.The local primary school had done a display about the school and the scout group had a display too.People could ask to see records of births and marriages.

Picture 029.jpg (364790 bytes)The work for the Centenary Exhibition had started months ago, with people delving into the back of drawers and cupboards and emptying long forgotten boxes in attics to find little treasures belonging to the history of St. Michaels Church and the surrounding parish.As well, of course, as people looking through the more formal archives stored in the Church andPicture 031.jpg (384349 bytes) Vicarage.The little army of people who turn up to clean, polish brass, arrange flowers, put up tables and all the other invisible jobs had been very busy and the Church looked a treat.The Children of the Jubilate Choir had painted pictures of St. Michaelís flaming sword which had been mounted and hung as banners on the pillars in church.The Scout group and the local primary school had made valuable contributions to the exhibition as well.Sue Robinson and her helpers had mounted, labeled and arranged the various contributions, and wasnít it all worthwhile it was a very good exhibition.

Picture 027.jpg (390147 bytes)I had popped into the Church several times during the weekend to look at bits of the exhibition and have a cup of coffee.There was a lovely atmosphere with choir music playing softly in the background and a fairly constant stream of visitors coming to have a look around.All of the comments I heard were very positive and most people seemed to enjoy looking at the old photos and a little bit of our history.Some people that had lived in Abbey Wood for many years already knew a great deal about the history of the area and were willing to share their memories and knowledge with us.

Patronal Festival Solemn Mass

The weekend cumulated in a Solemn Mass on Sunday evening, the choir had already started to sing the gathering songs by the time we arrived.The church was very full and there was a very happy atmosphere about the place.

The service started with the procession of Servers and Clergy, we were joined by Father Andrew Stevens, Father James Mowbray, and Father Dane Batley Gladden as well as Father Derek and Father David.We then sang a hymn telling of the rolls of the archangels.It was a lovely service with familiar readings, hymns and responses.After the Gospel Reading Father Batley-Gladden walked up into the pulpit to preach the sermon.I had seen Father Dane about the Church on previous occasions but had not heard him preach before.But what a treat it was.He started by announcing in a booming voice that he had been allowed to eat a second cherry bakewell tart earlier that afternoon on condition he kept his sermon short.He looked like a man who enjoyed a cherry bakewellÖ.

Father Dane talked about his visits to St. Michaelís in the past and how he felt as if he were coming home when he came to our Church.He talked of his family connections with St. Michaelís.With connections to the choir and with family names on the Roll of Honour that stands next to the Lady Chapel as well as his parents courtship starting in St. Michaelís youth club and subsequent marriage in St Michaelís Church.He told us as a child how his grandfather and his friends had carved their initials into a chair during a particularly boring sermon.The sadness of his mothers recent funeral at St. Michaels., as well as present day connections with the Church.He talked about personal history of all of us being a part of the history of St. Michaelís and how important we all are to St. Michaelís, the living stones of Gods Temple, and how if we were missing it was the same as removing bricks from the walls of the Church and leaving holes therein.The idea of the people who come to St. Michaelís being the Church has been a recurring theme through the Centenary celebrations.Bishop Keith preached a similar message in our Centenary Service in April this year.Father Dane was great fun to listen too, rotund and jolly he had many of the congregation, and the clergy, chuckling and laughing out loud by the end of his sermon.I for one would have been very happy if he had forgone his second cherry bakewell we had had the pleasure of listening to him for longer.

Patronal2.Jpg (1583377 bytes)After the Service many of the congregation retired to the Church Hall and social Club for a reception.The reception was, as always, well organised, the company was good and the food was lovely.Obviously lots of people (who always try to hide how hard they work!) had worked very hard to make it all work as well as it did.It was a lovely weekend.

Written by Sue