Norwich communion of saints celebrate jubilee
2009: A Norwich church has celebrated its golden jubilee in style and is building a new church hall as a sign of its future vision. Long-standing member Ray Church reports.
Witard Road may not be the most pretentious address in Norwich and it was only a small group of people who, way back in 1959 witnessed the laying of the foundation stone of the small Baptist Church in the warm and welcoming sunshine that September had offered.
However, come this September (26 and 27) in the same welcoming sunshine, a much larger group of people headed for this same site with questions on their mind. Will I recognise anyone? Will anyone recognise me?
These were groundless fears because this was the golden anniversary of the establishment of and indeed the enlargement of Witard Road Baptist Church
There were pastors, secretaries, moderators, Boys’ Brigade officers, Sunday School teachers, past members and present members buzzing like bees in a hive in a whole frenzy of chat, laughter and calls upon the memory.
If ever there is a better communion of saints I have yet to witness it. Some had come from afar – from Edinburgh by plane (not on angel’s wings), other had just walked around the corner. Of course the photographs had to come out and the memorabilia closely scrutinised. Were you there on that Sunday morning when the wastepaper mysteriously ignited in the old tin hut? Oh, what about when stately Mrs ‘X’ stepped back after the baptismal service and plopped down into the pool? No harm done thankfully!
This was all recounted as the young people came with plates of scrumptious scones, butter, jam and cream.
The visitors contributed many words of greeting and information of the times of which they were aware. There had been ups and downs, comings and goings, roundabouts and swings, but all the time the resounding report was of the faithfulness of God through this whole 50 years.
Celebrations continued into the evening with a buffet and ‘This is Your Life WRBC’
in the marquee at The Oaklands Hotel
. Photographs, a powerpoint slide show and music all helped to make a memorable evening.
The Sunday morning was the culmination of the weekend with a packed church (physically spilling out of the doors!) celebrating not only the golden anniversary but also ‘back to church’ Sunday with Rev Richard Lewis, EBA Regional Minister preaching.
If ever confirmation was needed that a larger church building was required, surely this was it! Thanks were given for the faithfulness of the Lord to His people in the past and a real emphasis was placed on looking to the future, with a gift-day for folk to contribute towards the building fund together with guided tours of the partially completed new sanctuary.
Thanks be to God for the folk who have contributed to making WRBC what it is today, but Praise Him for all that is still to come!
Read more about Witard Road on this website
Pictured are, from top, the shell of the new sanctuary at Witard Road, church pastor David Adams and church founding member Mary Kindred cutting the cake with Rev Richard Lewis, the evening buffet at the Oaklands Hotel and pictures of the afternoon cream tea.
All photos courtesy of Tino Pertamana (Pertamana Photography).