Church Stewards 2021-22
Born in Lancashire, I moved to Kent when I was 10. I became a member of Sittingbourne Congregational Church, (later URC) and attended Medway District Easter and Autumn Youth Conferences, where I met my husband, David, and made many firm friends. I trained as a teacher, and taught for five years, before leaving to start a family. Our two daughters have always been very special to us, and we now also have two grandchildren who are a delight.
Music has always been very important to me. When I was 11 I had the opportunity to learn the bassoon, and this has become a lifelong pleasure. I was able to play in many amateur orchestras at home and college, and still enjoy making music with others, as part of the church music group, and in Bracknell and Wokingham Community Band.
When we moved to Wokingham in 1991, it was important to us to find a local church where we could worship as a family. Rose Street welcomed us, and I was soon involved in a friendly house group, and with the music group for the inaugural service of the new South East Berkshire Circuit. Once my children were older I returned to working in education as a teacher, and more recently as a learning support assistant, in a wide variety of roles.
I am looking forward to being part of the stewards team as we face the new opportunities and challenges of following our vision at the heart of our changing town.
I grew up in Westcliff-on-sea, Essex, where my parents had a greengrocer’s shop. We were sent to Sunday School at the Westcliff Elim Church, which was a great place for encouraging children to participate in the music and worship, and to feel that faith is something personal and alive.
Colin and I have moved around the country due to his job, so we have lived in Essex, Sussex and Hertfordshire before moving to Wokingham in 1996, with our daughters, Samantha and Jennifer. Nearly every time we moved, I had to change my job, with a resulting patchwork of careers; I have worked in banking, journalism, marketing and social care – all fun and challenging in very different ways.
Now that we are retired we are delighted that we see a lot of our twin granddaughters. I’m glad to be able to contribute to church life by preaching, playing music, and now by stewarding. Covid-19 has presented many difficulties, but it’s been great to see how people have risen to the challenge, learnt new skills and embraced different ways of worshipping.
I was born in Walthamstow and brought up in Chingford, both then in Essex, and now Waltham Forest. I attended the Sunday School at South Chingford Methodist Church at the suggestion of a neighbour who taught there and thought that it was something I’d enjoy. It was and I went on to become a Sunday School leader myself before going to university.
Whilst at Sussex University I was a member of the Methsoc and was honoured to be the secretary one year which gave me the right to attend the junior synod.
As a language student I spent a year working in Paris and France still plays an important role in my life. After university I went straight into teaching having discovered that I loved working with children through holiday jobs.
My teaching career brought me to the Reading area and although I did move away I soon came back. I’ve taught languages in playschools, nurseries and small primary schools, before moving into prep schools and then ending up at Dolphin where I’ve been for the past 14 years.
One of the great motivations in my life is being helpful to others. I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to offer my service to the life of the church and look forward to working alongside all of the congregation as we move forward out of the pandemic.
Annual Report (March 2021)
When we wrote the 2020 report, we had no idea of what the following 12 months would hold. And, now, as we reflect back on the year it is with a mixture of emotions: sadness, amazement and incredibility. However, through it all, even in the darkest times we have felt a powerful sense of God’s guidance, encouragement and presence.
We have been delighted to welcome Kim Tame to our team, but sadly had to accept Lesley Wheaton and Rosi Morgan-Barry’s resignations during the year, when they felt unable to continue to commit to the role. Margaret Wells also completes her 3 year term as a steward at the end of April. We are grateful to them all for their service, and ongoing help in organising and taking part in our efforts to communicate with our congregation and assist in worship.
The consequences of varying levels of restrictions have meant more changes, challenging us to adapt to change, and question how, and why, we do certain things. The contributions of all the stewards, and a team who gave us a blueprint to enable us to restart worship after the first lockdown safely, has been inspiring. We have worked closely with Catherine and Claire to maintain a sense of community and belonging in new ways. It has been encouraging to see how communication has been continued, through phone conversations, cards, emails and zoom meetings, recorded online services, weekly pastoral letters and notices, meeting outside when allowed, and returning to worship in a very different setting and format for a few months.
With infection rates increasing again at an alarming rate we took the difficult decision to once again suspend worship from 4th December which meant our Christmas services were only available online. However, with the vaccination programme working well, we are looking forward to being able to resume worshipping on our premises in a covid safe way on Easter Sunday. Hopefully by the time you read this it will have become a reality.
We are thankful for Catherine’s strength and vision as we have together navigated this challenging time. We are grateful to all our preachers, readers and intercessors who readily adapted to the new way of providing weekly worship with assistance from Roger Prior and Michael Wells. Also, for the IT team, and Tom Barker, who added valuable resources, enabling us to worship in the church. The ‘no singing’ restriction was certainly a challenge.
The role of steward has certainly been very different this year and as we begin to open up our worship again, we will be looking for others to join our team. Are you prayerful, practical, caring, supportive and mindful of others needs and excited by the prospect of being able to worship together again? Maybe God is calling you to support Catherine and our worshipping community in new ways.
Christine Morgan and Chris Rooke-Matthews