Junior Church Anniversary

1881 and all that

One hundred and thirty-two years ago Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, was born and Billy the Kid, the outlaw, came to a sticky end.  In the same year the Natural History Museum in London opened, but more importantly the Sunday School, forerunner of Junior Church, was started at Chapel Field Road.

And what a memorable morning we had on Sunday 12 May when we were invited by Junior Church to join in celebrating their anniversary.  Frances Middleton, with Nicky, Linda, Bev and Sarah (not able to be there on the day) had   obviously worked very hard, ably assisted by our talented youngsters, to put together a presentation drawing to our attention the problem of hunger around the world and the work of Christian Aid to combat it.

Under the heading of “Bite Back At Hunger” with photographs, graphic displays and readings they drew a dramatic picture of the difficulties of providing enough food for everyone in less fortunate parts of the world.  Taking a lesson from a line in hymn 663 “finest bread I will provide” Rebecca and several other pairs of well-washed hands showed us how to make soda bread.  The secret ingredient, washed hands, explained why, when our grandmothers taught us how to make bread, our little loaves were so much darker in colour than her large ones.

We had been invited to come to the service dressed in the traditional costume of our native country.  With the wide range of nationalities at Chapel Field Road and the imagination of the more ‘local’ members of the congregation this made for a very colourful gathering.  But none so splendid as the drum and choral group of young men who gave us such a spirited rendering of “Karibu Bwana”.  We had also been invited to bring samples of bread from our country or region.  When Chapel Field was built in 1880/81 it was designed to accommodate 1000 worshippers and although there were not quite that memorable number there that Sunday the bread on display would have gone some way to feeding them.  It says something for the skills of the Junior Church bakers that the bread most on demand afterwards was the soda bread still warm from the oven.

Altogether a heart-warming and joyful anniversary which never lost sight of the underlying message—Bite Back At Hunger.

John Massey

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