Centenary Dinner




Over the years our Church hall has been the venue for many and diverse activities from the weekly toddler playgroup, Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, majorettes, table tennis and dog training as well as jumble sales and numerous personal and family celebrations for birthdays, weddings and anniversaries and lots, lots more.  However, the evening of the 3rd of May 2008 was certainly a first, The Church Centenary Dinner.

We arrived at the Church Hall at about seven fifteen and joined the assembled group of people who were already chatting to each other.  Posh frocks, and suits and ties were very much in evidence even from the youngest members of the group and everyone looked very nice for this special occasion.

As we entered the hall Jessie pointed out a table on our left which was held a place setting card, the idea being that the guest wrote their name and then found a place at one of the tables where they would like to sit.  I thought this was a good idea as it gave people the opportunity to choose their dinner companions instead of having a place imposed on them.  Also, like the Easter breakfast it served to mix up groups of people that wouldn’t usually spend time together.  We wrote our names and started to look around the hall to find a space where we could all sit together, having Jessie with me I thought that should keep an eye on her!

The top table had been arranged across the width of the hall close to the stage and the other tables had been arranged in groups in a sort of abstract z shape around the rest of the hall.  The tables had been dressed very nicely with white tablecloths and neat little flower vases of daffodils, tea light candles and bowls of fruit.  The top table had a special arrangement of purple flowers, which looked very striking from across the hall.

We were joined for our celebrations by The Rt Rev.  John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham, and his wife Judy who started the evening by meeting and chatting with as many people as they could.  The Bishop seemed to be a very pleasant, friendly man who had a happy knack of talking to the children in our group and had both of my children giggling in no time at all.

On a table at the side of the hall there was a display of photos relating to the past hundred years of St.  Michael’s history.  It is always interesting to see the way we were and this was no exception.  I very much enjoyed the display and would like to have had more time to spend looking at it.

Promptly at seven-thirty, Father David announced dinner was about to be served and we took our seats.  Bishop John said Grace and we sat in anticipation of our meal.  Soon the “waiters,” Nigel, Martin, and Paul appeared carrying plates of smoked salmon and prawns, which they distributed rapidly.  This was followed by a selection of rolls and butter.  Next came the main course, roast beef with all the trimmings it said on the menu card and indeed there were! A plate groaning under the weight of beef, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and Yorkshire pudding arrived in front of me.  It was very nice.  Again the empty plates were taken and shortly replaced by a delightful looking fruit slice with vanilla cream and a little chocolate cup filled with chocolate mousse topped off with a fresh raspberry.  It really looked to pretty to eat but we did anyway!  Finally came the cheese selection and biscuits.  I am surprised anyone managed to find it possible to eat any more food, but we did and it was very nice.

At this point, I was reminded that I had promised to take some photograph of the evening.  Having taken photos of many people in the hall, I headed off to the kitchen trying not to get under the feet of the waiters who were rushing in and out.  Carol and Penny both looked in very good sprits considering the amount of work they were doing and the mountain of dirty plates that were appearing ready to be washed up.  Martin and Paul were trying to snatch a well-earned cup of coffee and Paul obviously needed an energy boost as he spooned in several heaped spoons of sugar!

The meal took place to a background of gentle classical music and the buzz of conversation going on around the room punctuated by laughter.  The meal ended with coffee and chocolate mints and I had to admit defeat.  It was a lovely meal and a very enjoyable evening.  After the meal, the raffle, organised by Norma, was drawn and the prizes distributed to the winners.  Bishop John made a short speech thanking us for inviting him to join our celebration and apologizing for being unable to join us for our Centenary Service.

Father David brought Carol, Penny, Nigel, Martin, and Paul in from the kitchen and said thank you to them for all their hard work.  He did suggest that as they had done such a good job that perhaps we should do it all again next Saturday! “The Staff” as he called them were not keen!  As always there is a great deal of hard work that goes in to arranging these events by all sorts of people and they all deserve a very big thank you for making it a really enjoyable evening.  The evening ended and people began to drift off home.  It was a lovely evening.

Written by Sue