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Epsom Herald Souvenir Edition

 

The Epsom & Ewell Herald (our local paper) produced a special souvenir edition on June 25th, 1987, where both the entire front and back pages were dedicated to our Golden Jubilee. We have tried to do this marvellous spread justice but inevitably the impact on the small screen is much reduced – we’ve done our best!

Our 50 Happy Years at Stoneleigh

A Golden Jubilee is always a special and memorable occasion.

But when it involves a local church this is true many times over. For it is the focal point of the immediate community, drawing together adults and children of all ages and backgrounds, interests and concerns.

It is a source of hope and comfort, support and love. All these attributes and many, many more aptly describe one of Stoneleigh’s most popular and cherished churches.

The Methodist Church, which proudly sits in Stoneleigh Crescent, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year. And The Herald is proud to produce this special souvenir edition to mark the church’s historic milestone.

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Stoneleigh Methodist can, with every justification, be called a family church. The numerous groups and organisations linked to it span every age group from toddlers to pensioners. And the high level of affection and regard it is held in can be measured by the tremendous amount of support and enthusiasm of everyone concerned in the jubilee celebrations.

This not only applies to those living in the area but many people who have moved away from Stoneleigh have returned to take part in the anniversary programme of events. Organiser of the jubilee committee, Mr Ron Fiddick, told the Herald: “It’s been a pleasure to see so many members and friends taking part in the celebrations. Many people who have moved away from the area have returned to pay us a visit during this special year. We have received an incredible amount of help and support from everyone,” he added.

The Church was born in the 1930’s due to the determination and dedication of a small group of Methodists in the area. Since then it has flourished into a remarkable success story. During the past half century membership has grown steadily and a tremendous range of groups and clubs have been formed. Some are traditional such as the choir, Sunday School and Women’s Fellowship. Others, however, illustrate the way in which the church has adapted to meet modern needs and requirements of society.

One of the finest examples of this caring attitude of the church is the Care Scheme formed just over two years ago. Organiser Edward Warren explained: “We deal with any kind of emergency or difficult situation that people may find themselves in. We work closely with health visitors and welfare organisations so that if someone does need specialist help we can put them  in contact  with the relevant group.” The Care Service is run every day of the week at the church from 10am to noon, 2pm to 4pm and from 7pm to 9pm. When the centre ìs not open a telephone answering service is available.

“The scheme has proved a great success; there is obviously a place for it in the community,” said Mr Warren. Everyone is welcome just to come along for a cup of coffee and a chat whether they need help and advice or not,” he added.

The Thursday Club, launched nearly five years ago, is also and excellent example of the church’s caring attitude. When it became apparent that loneliness was a problem among many of the older people in the community the club was started. Now for two hours every Thursday afternoon around 30 people meet in the Link Room either just for chat and cup of coffee or to enjoy and take part in one of the activities on hand. This can range from cards and scrabble to poetry readings, quizzes and musical afternoons. A Christmas party and summer outing are regular dates pencilled into the the calendar.

The Luncheon Club, which was started during the late seventies, provides a sit-down meal for elderly people every Wednesday from 12:30pm.

The Men’s Club, which meets every second and fourth Monday of the month between October and May for talks, discussions, recreational and cultural activities has a membership of around the 30 mark.

The 3rd (Stoneleigh (Methodist) Scout Group dates back to the church’s earliest days and today is over 100 strong. It enjoys immense support from Scouters, lay people and parents and as well as the Cub Pack and Scout Troop there is now also the Beavers which started five years ago.

The 2nd and 4th Stoneleigh Guide Companies and Brownie Packs have a combined membership of more than 100 girls between seven and 15 years of age. Guiding was started at Stoneleigh Methodist by Miss Olive Civil in the late 1930’s. Since then 27 girls have achieved the much coveted Queen’s Guide Badge which reflects the enthusiasm and dedication of all concerned in the movement.

The choir always holds a special place in the history of any church, and this is very much the case at Stoneleigh Methodist. Up until 1960 a piano accompanied the choir but in that year an organ was installed. Sixteen years later and even greater change took place. After many discussions and meetings it was decided that the organ console and the choir should be positioned at the front of the church as they are today – so that the choir and congregation are as one as a united worshipping community. But the role of the Stoneleigh Methodist Church Choir is not restricted to solely providing music. It has an active social life which include socials during the winters and outings to places of interest and concerts and theatres.

The Women’s Fellowship was formed almost 50 years ago and plays a vital part in the history of the Church. When the Second World War broke out numbers were drastically reduced and for a period of time was forced to close. But in 1941 it restarted with an increased membership and has flourished ever since. During its history many speakers from a whole range of organisations have been welcomed to their Tuesday afternoon meetings. Members are also active fund-raisers for all manner of charities including the Leprosy Mission, Friends of St Ebba’s and building schemes of the church.

It was during the early thirties that the Methodist movement began to grow in the Stoneleigh area but at that time, as they had no church of their own, they had to walk to places such as Worcester Park, for services. However at the beginning of 1936 a small group began to meet at each other’s homes and the first steps towards Stoneleigh having its own Methodist church were taken.

The Stoneleigh Fellowship was launched and by December a Building Committee had been formed. Matters progressed steadily to such an extent that the Fellowship met as a Methodist Society for the first time in corporate worship on Whit Sunday 1937 with the Supt. Minister of the Upper Tooting Circuit, the Rev Wilfred Hannam, leading the service. The venue was Stoneleigh West School and by September the same year a Sunday School had been formed followed shortly by a Wesley Guild.

A site for the new building was found and on October 2, 1937 the laying of the Foundation Stone ceremony took place. On February 26 in the following year the new church and hall was officially opened. Stoneleigh Methodist Church has always enjoyed immense popularity and right from the start has grown continuously to embrace all sections of the community it serves. In 1937 membership stood at 76. Twelve months later this figure had grown to 101. Despite the outbreak of the Second World War membership continued to rise and in 1945 it stood at 135.

In 1938 the Women’s Fellowship and Thursday Evening Fellowship for Bible Study was started.

A choir was also formed during the same year which proved such a popular group that a Choir Festival was staged the following year.

Junior and young people’s organisations associated with the church have always flourished. During 1940 to 1950 it was an active Christian Youth Centre with more that 600  youngsters regularly attending all kinds of meetings. Needless to say accommodation was stretched to bursting point but this problem was solved when the Youth Hut was opened in September 1948.

The summer of 1954 was a particularly important one in the history of this church – for on June 16 Mr & Mrs T Moullin laid the Foundation Stone of the present building. And on September 10 of the following year Mrs Margaret Walker opened the new church.

Stoneleigh Methodist has a theme of expansion running throughout its lifetime. During the sixties matters had reached such a state that junior organisations had full waiting lists and the Junior Church had to meet in nearby homes as all rooms in the church were full on Sundays. The solution seems to be to build a room to link the Church and the Hall. Thus in February 1973 the Link Room was opened by Wing Cdr. Ron Fiddick. This room has helped to promote and develop community involvement side by side with the church.

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A sea of waves from the church’s Brownie contingent . . . young people’s organisations associated with the church at Stoneleigh have always flourished


Caring – ‘Keynote by the Minister’

The present minister the Rev Robert Teasdale, summed up the family and community spirit of the church when he told The Herald: “Caring is the key-note for the future of Stoneleigh Methodist.

“During the next fifty years we intend to continue serving the local community and catering for the needs of individuals form the very young to the more senior members.” He added: “We believe that Jesus Christ is the only one who can fully meet every individual persons needs. Through faith in Him everyone can find their life transformed and enriched.”

The 12-month programme of special celebrations to mark the golden jubilee year has already reached the halfway mark. Events were launched with a Covenant and Dedication Service conducted by the Rev Colin Rowe, chairman of the London South West District, and the Rev Robert Teasdale in January.

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Vice President of the Methodist Conference, Mrs Anne Knighton, with Mrs Phyllis Fiddick, wife of the jubilee organiser, Mr Ron Fiddick

All the groups and organisations associated with the church have held or are due to hold celebration events and parties. And several former Stoneleigh Methodist ministers will have led a  number of services by the end of the year. But the highlight of this golden year took place during the Whit Weekend earlier this month.

On Thursday June 4 members were delighted to welcome Mrs Anne Knighton, the Vice President of the Methodist Conference. Mrs Knighton is the wife of the Rev Donald Knighton who was the church’s minister for four years from 1970 and who returned to conduct the service on Sunday February 15.

hse5On Sunday June 6 around 160 members and friends enjoyed a sit down supper in the church hall and on Whit Sunday both the morning and evening services were taken by the Rev Reginald Walker followed by light refreshments to enable friends old and new to chat and reminisce.

Mr Walker was the local minister from 1950  to 1954. Jubilee celebrations will conclude in December with a Church Family Party.


Sitting at the top table at the golden jubilee supper, with friends are from top right senior steward, Jim Salisbury, Mrs Joyce Teasdale, the Rev Robert Teasdale, Mrs Margaret Walker, the Rev Reginald Walker, their daughter-in-law and son Stephen

Sitting at the top table at the golden jubilee supper, with friends are from top right senior steward, Jim Salisbury, Mrs Joyce Teasdale, the Rev Robert Teasdale, Mrs Margaret Walker, the Rev Reginald Walker, their daughter-in-law and son Stephen

The Rev Reginald Walker, Minister of Stoneleigh Methodist from 1950 to 1954, with members and friends of the church at the big supper date

The Rev Reginald Walker, Minister of Stoneleigh Methodist from 1950 to 1954, with members and friends of the church at the big supper date

One of the church's founders Mr Charles Bidwell and his daughterGrace with one of the youngest members Radhika Srinivasan

One of the church’s founders Mr Charles Bidwell and his daughter Grace with one of the youngest members Radhika Srinivasan

Ladies getting on with the serious business of making tea and coffee

Ladies getting on with the serious business of making tea and coffee

Plenty of smiles for our photographer when he took this picture of the 3rd Stoneleigh (Methodist) Cub Scouts - one of the busy church's many organisations

Plenty of smiles for our photographer when he took this picture of the 3rd Stoneleigh (Methodist) Cub Scouts – one of the busy church’s many organisations

Two of the founder members of the church, Malcolm MacDonald and his wife Florrie, seen here with their son David and friends

Two of the founder members of the church, Malcolm MacDonald and his wife Florrie, seen here with their son David and friends

and younger members of the church ready to tuck into their fruit cocktails

and younger members of the church ready to tuck into their fruit cocktails

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Foodbank latest

We would be grateful for donations of  Meat Pies (Urgent), Tinned Fruit, Tinned Vegetables, Powdered Milk (Urgent), Children’s Toothpaste and Toothbrushes (Urgent), Washing Powder/ Liquid/ Tablets (Urgent), Washing up Liquid, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Ketchup, Brown Sauce, Tinned Meat.

As at 10/05/2018 we are not short of anything else thank you.