Book celebrates church centenary

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One hundred years of church life are celebrated in a new book.

Stuart Hodgson has been a member of the congregation at Shefford Methodist Church for the last 65 years.

The church celebrated 100 years since its first ever service earlier this month, and Stuart chronicles developments in Past and Present: The History of Methodism in Shefford.

This weekend the church will celebrate the anniversary with a series of special events including a coffee morning, concert, anniversary service and lunch.

Stuart, 82, who lives in Shefford wanted to do something special to mark the milestone.

He said: “There are people who have been coming to the church regularly for decades who have so many stories and memories.

“I really wanted to put these down on paper and explore how the church and church life have changed over the years.

“It wasn’t always easy to get people to open up though – some of them generally prefer to keep themselves to themselves!”

Semi-retired upholsterer Stuart, who lives in Ivel Road has taken on different roles at the church in the past, including as a steward.

The former shop proprietor has seen many changes over the decades.

He added: “The original building dates back to 1835 but it did not start functioning as a church until 1912, when William Inskip was recorded as leading the first service.

“In 1991 the extension was built at the side, with new meeting room, toilets and kitchen being added.”

Attendances have dropped in the last decade but the church can expect around 40 worshippers at each service.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s around double as many people would attend.

On Saturday there will be a coffee morning and gift day in the church hall from 10am until noon.

Choral group Andante will perform at the church on Saturday night at 7.30pm.

Tickets are £5 including refreshments, and can be reserved by contacting 01462 813284.

The centenary church anniversary celebration service led by the Reverend Jim Gorringe will be at 9.30am on Sunday.

On Sunday there will also be the anniversary lunch, at 12.30pm.

To reserve tickets contact 01462 812200.

Past and Present: The History of Methodism is available to buy from the church and from Shefford Post Office, priced £4.

All proceeds will go towards church funds.