Rev. George W. Sails, B.D, in his report, At the Centre, the story of Methodism's Central Missions, to the Home Missions Department in the 1970s, wrote:
The Arkwright Street Wesleyan Church was opened in 1864, along with a Day School for 500 children, which accounts for the vast premises which were inherited by a succeeding generation. When the church celebrated its Jubilee in 1914 reports indicated that it was already fulfilling many of the functions of a Central Mission, but over the years it began to lose its strength and, in 1926, on the initiative of the Home Mission Department, it became an official Mission. The old church, with its congregation down to one hundred people, was transformed into a Hall, at a cost of £11,000, and was ready for use in March 1927. The experiment was justified and the Mission grew as it served the thickly populated Meadows area. The post-war years brought decline and it was an increasing struggle to maintain the large suite of premises. By 1960 the whole future of the Mission was in jeopardy and in 1961 Connexional Commissions looked in detail at the situation. There is no other Methodist witness in The Meadows, (one Baptist and three Methodist churches in the area have been closed in the last thirty years). The ultimate decision was to rebuild the entire premises in three phases on the existing site. This has been done. The new church, which evoked both praise and criticism, being opened in 1966, the Coffee Bar in 1967 and the new Youth Centre in 1969.
There is a large immigrant community in close proximity to the Mission, and residential redevelopment of the whole area is planned. The next few years will be difficult, but the Hall is in a strategic position to serve the re-housed community.
Bridgeway is one of the few Missions to exist within a normal circuit [before it joined the Nottingham Central Mission Circuit], and it has received much encouragement and considerable financial help from the other churches in the Nottingham (South) Circuit.
Mission Statistics 1970
Branch: Bridgeway Hall
Number of members: 122
Congregation am: 25
Congregation pm: 75
Staff: One ordained minister (who also has pastoral charge of another society) and one deaconess.
Superintendent Minister: Rev. John de St. Croix, 55 Musters Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
Bridgeway Hall transferred from the Nottingham (South) Circuit to the Nottingham Mission Circuit in August 1972.
In 1981 the Bridgeway Luncheon Club was still flourishing and had quite a reputation.
THE BRIDGEWAY LUNCHEON CLUB
Come to the Bridgeway Luncheon Club
There's lots of fun and lots of grub.
There's Mrs. Lee she makes the tea
Enough for you, enough for me.
There's dear old Fraser (what do you think) [Rev. Fraser D. Smith]
He's washing pots up in the sink.
And though she's not much time to tarry
She'll find you a seat, will Mrs. Parry.
If you need cakes to buy for tea,
The lovely twins they bake you see.
There's Mrs. Smith she serves the sweet,
A kindly word to all she meets.
The supervisor Mrs. Hailes,
Talks to all those friendly males.
Then she goes ashouting, shouting
"Who's going on this blinking outing?"
Stephen shouts "Who's for seconds?"
There's a rush when'er he beckons.
Then Harry arrives upon his bike,
Derek Smith's on a sponsored hike.
The men upon the middle-table,
Talking politics, think they are able.
There's (nice one) Cyril, Bill and Jim,
There's Arthur trying to get one in.
These are the crowd, and others too,
Make life bearable for me and you.
Bridgeway Bric a Brac, by T. Arthur Thorne, 1981.
The Church Council meeting on 12 September 1985 reported that: "The Albert Hall Badminton Club has now begun meeting at Bridgeway Hall on a Monday night" on the closing down of the Albert Hall.
Rev Andrew James Martyn Barker, B.Sc.(Bristol), Dip. Theol., succeeded the Rev. Martin L. Groves, M. Theol (Princetown), D.Phil.(Oxon), as Minister of Bridgeway Hall in September 1986. This was not an invitation but an appointment by the Connexion. He already had substantial experience as a Minister in the Wesleyan Reformed Church but had elected to transfer to the main Methodist Connexion and was undertaking a two-year course of training as a mature student. He was due to be ordained in 1987.
Central Television broadcast the Sunday Morning Worship from Bridgeway Hall on 26 October 1986.
May 1989 saw the start of a new Girls' Brigade. It met on Wednesdays from 6.00 pm to 7.15 pm for Explorers (aged 5-8), from 6.30 pm to 8.00 pm for Juniors (aged 8-11), and from 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm for Seniors (11-14) and Brigaders (14 plus). The Boys' Brigade met on Wednesdays from 6.00 pm to 7.15 pm for Anchor Boys (aged 5-8), and on Fridays from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm for Juniors (aged 8-11). The Company Section met 7.00 pm on Fridays for boys aged 12 plus.
On 18 May 1989 Toby Tyers, Paul Edlin, Stephen Daykin, and Stephen Beckworth received their Duke of Edinburgh Awards at a grand presentation at the Council House.
Sue Smith was one of several CThM students from St. John's College, Bramcote, who in 1993 were placed at Bridgeway Hall. In her report on the subject of Pastoral Care she noted that:
This inner city estate is a clearly defined area being bordered by Nottingham [Midland] Station to the north, the A453 to the west, the A60 to the east and the River Trent to the south. Originally built in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century, much of the old Victorian terraced housing stock was rebuilt in the 1970s. It now consists of a mixture of terraced, semi-detached houses, low-rise flats and sheltered accommodation for elderly folk. Much of it appears attractively built but closer inspection reveals considerable deterioration in places. The layout of the houses and the numerous pedestrian ways which criss-cross the estate give it the appearance of a maze and I'm told that even the postman has difficulty in finding his way around. Long-standing residents still get lost and, for a newcomer, finding a particular number can resemble an exercise in orienteering.
On the southern end of the estate the old Victorian terraced housing remains, much of it having been upgraded and modernised.
Older residents of The Meadows, who lived there before the rebuilding, still find it hard to understand why the majority of the estate was rebuilt. The old Victorian housing had much more character and their perception of it was not in a particularly bad condition. They were obviously caused much sadness when they saw the houses in which they were born demolished and there seems still to be an element of resentment about it. However, they continue to live there and some who had previously moved away have returned; after all "The Meadows is home".
The regular congregation of Bridgeway is mixed West Indian and white, and numbers about sixty to eighty. There is a Community Roll, which lists Church members as well as those who have not entered into formal membership, numbering nearly three hundred people. Church members are grouped into classes and pastored by the class leader. They do not necessarily meet as a group, though some do. The fringe people are pastored by Andrew Barker and it was this group that I was involved in visiting.
Considering the geographically-defined area in which Bridgeway was situated, I found it surprising that what seemed a significant number of members and fringe people came to the church from outside the area. On inquiry, I found that most of these had once lived in The Meadows and, although currently living in different communities, had obviously not made these their worshipping home. While at least one expressed her reason for continuing to come back to Bridgeway as the amount of care she had received in difficult times, for many there seems to be a strong sense of loyalty to The Meadows and to Bridgeway which transcends geographical considerations and perhaps indicates a difficulty in letting go offs the past. It is interesting to note that a few of these people are the most vociferous in opposing change.
Gardens (approach from the Midland Station)
|Exterior, front, 1998. [Image missing]|
Multi-purpose hall; table tennis
Pulpit and communion area, 1998
Banners, drums and Colours, July 1998
|Bridgeway Hall Mission|
I have found the people very friendly and accepting, and there is evidence of the Holy Spirit slowly breaking down the natural reserve and enabling them to recognise and communicate with each other more freely what God is doing in their lives. For many their Christian walk is a very private affair, though there are those who welcome the opportunity to share more openly.
Tim Ryley, in a comparable report, stated that:
A local pressure group, M.A.T.A.R. [Meadows Association of Tenants and Residents], ensured a phased redevelopment, so the new houses could go to the many who wanted to stay in The Meadows. However, housing stock fell from 5,000 to 2,350, and the population declined from 16,000 in 1971 to 9,300 by 1989. Tower blocks were avoided, and the area is pleasantly attractive with much greenery, especially near the Trent.
There are a large number of agencies involved in The Meadows, many working together, private and public. For example, the Youth Forum held at the Wilford Meadows Secondary School got people from teaching, police, church, and social services together. The seven churches also work together as Meadows Christians in Partnership: Methodist, Bridgeway Hall; Catholic, St. Patrick's; C of E, St. George's and St. Saviour's; Black-led, Wesleyan Holiness Church, Church of God, and Full Gospel Revival Centre; and Elim, St. Faith's.
The Church is at one end of Bridgeway Shopping Centre. The building is large and expensive to run, with high ceilings and little natural light. There is a sports hall, coffee bar, kitchen, various meeting rooms, and a large worship area seating 220 people. There is a membership of 83 and a Community Roll of 313. Average morning attendance is 68 and the evening 16. The membership is mixed West Indian and English, a consequence of the warm welcome given here in the 1950s.
There is little organised social activity but a great deal of care is shown by individuals to each other; visiting, asking after, and requests for prayer. Although serving the community, there is a sense of church being a place of quiet and security in a hostile and changing world. The doors are open but only so far. Much goes on to which outsiders may come, but Andrew's desire to see the church "going out" is meeting with little success so far. Although much of the activity is on a practical level, there is growing spiritual openness and awareness under Andrew's ministry, which has come out of many visits and conversations. Many who struggle to verbalise their faith see their practical commitment as a response to God.
It is the tendency of many of us to look back with rose-tinted spectacles, especially in the face of the insecurities of a rapidly changing and hostile world. I would suggest this is heightened in The Meadows. A substantial proportion of the population lived through the massive upheaval of the 1970s. Change brings insecurity and is in the hands of outsiders, so is something to be wary of. New ventures, for example the community play schemes, took much effort and many years to get going; new facilities were poorly used; and school teachers told of rapid change in behaviour if routines were altered. The whole community tends towards insecurity, thus it is not surprising that the church is a place of security, of stability, of links with a happy past.
The church has always been well staffed with its own Minister and, in the past, deacons also. The "professionals" have run the church.
Preaching is an important element of Bridgeway ministry. It is one of Andrew's strengths and he is the regular preacher. People do listen and take seriously what is said.
On Saturday 17 July 1993 the second Caribbean evening was held, to which over one hundred people attended. The food was provided by Caribbean women and men. They were later entertained by a selection of songs provided by a range from Rev. Andrew Barker to the Pilgrim Choir, as well as a testimony and poetry reading.
A number of Nottingham Boys' Brigade Companies again visited Pooley Bridge in the Lake District for the 1993 camp. Bridgeway boys were also represented at the Centenary Camp at Cromford.
As had become their custom, the annual Covenant and Communion service was held on the first Sunday morning of the New Year. Nearly two hundred and fifty years earlier, on 25th December 1747, and on many other occasions, John Wesley strongly urged Methodists to renew their Covenant with God. His first formal Covenant Service was held on 11 August 1755. One prayer used now is: "O Lord God, Holy Father, who has called us through Christ to be partakers of this gracious covenant, we take upon ourselves with joy the yoke of obedience and engage ourselves, for love of You to seek and do Your perfect will. We are no longer our own but Yours..... let the Covenant we have made on earth be ratified in Heaven. Amen."
The Circuit Farewell Evening for Andrew, Claire, Duncan, and John Barker took place at Bridgeway Hall on Saturday 23 July 1994 at 6.30 pm. Mrs. Carolyn Broadhurst reported in the Central News for July 1994 that:
Andrew will be remembered for his careful preparation for worship and for the ways he always endeavoured to involve lay people and develop their gifts. During Joe Gibbon's illness, Andrew played a particularly important role in the life of the Mission and took on a fair amount of additional responsibility, and has always put himself out to assist people by giving time and a listening ear. We have also been fortunate to benefit from Andrew's deep concern for evangelism (a concern which took him recently to Korea) and also in the effects of culture on the gospel, leading to his visit last year to the Caribbean.
Andrew, Claire, Duncan and John have made a special contribution to the Circuit with their musical talent and we pray that God will richly bless their future ministry as a family, and Andrew's ministry in paricular as he settles into a brand new manse and into his two new churches of Newmount and Findern in the Derby(South) Circuit.
No minister was found to replace Rev Barker but Rev. Brian Kirkpatrick, about to become a supernumerary minister, very kindly offered to take on that role for one year. He had pastoral responsibility for Bridgeway Hall. He and his wife, Brenda, lived in the manse on Pyatt Street.
Rev. Brian Kirkpatrick wrote a pre-arrival greeting to the Church in August 1994:
The Methodist Clock has ticked another year and soon we'll be on the move. It could have been the Potteries, but Bridgeway here we come! It might have been full retirement but a whole year at three-quarters pace offers advantages all round. John Wesley seems to have ordered his Travelling Preachers around every year on the assumption that evangelism was their primary task - how times change [have they?]!
A great Philosopher, called Heraclitus, claimed that it is impossible to dip your toe twice in the same water of a flowing river no matter how quickly you move. The current always wins. From this he argued that change is the only constant. I'll certainly try to prove him wrong when we get to the Trent but I think I know what he meant. An old Rabbi taught the same idea when he claimed that God never does the same thing twice and in one of his sermons Colin Morris has a satirical piece about people who think history is waiting off-stage for an encore. It's a bit like expecting to meet a dinosaur on the embankment or a heat wave in the Arctic or a revival of the British Empire. There is only one "U" in "Population", call him/her/it what you will!
We all have nostalgia for repeats but they never happen - except on TV. Christians are motivated by one-offs. Calvary, Easter and Pentecost can be celebrated but never repeated; they are the Mighty Acts of our Salvation and command our trust in their far-reaching effects upon us where we are in to-day's world. When Joshua took the Israelites across the Jordan he reminded them that they had never been that way before and each day was a new experience of the Lord's Presence.
Brenda and I have never been to Nottingham before and I hope we can do more than just "Hold the Fort" as we share a year with you, but we look for a fresh experience of the presence and power of the Lord Jesus as we come to serve him with new friends. Like the parable of the good seed, our possessions seem to have multiplied a hundred-fold and this time we have been particularly ruthless in discarding old favourites, but some things we just can't part with and these will be with us to death. In the same way we hope to bring a fullness of personal commitment and a resolve to "do all the good we can".
We are grateful to Andrew and Clare for all their helpfulness as we make this move and join you in wishing them every blessing as they and their family go to a new home and Circuit in Derby.
Praise God who keeps all our to-morrows safe for us. His Joy is our strength and His work is our Life.
With much love and anticipation
The official welcome by the circuit was at 6 pm on Saturday 3 September 1994. After he left, the following year, he sent this letter:
A LITTLE CLOUD
A small brook flows alongside the bottom of our garden here in the Potteries and finishes up at Hull via the Potteries intake and places en route like Burton, Derby and Nottingham. William Clowes, one of the founders of Primitive Methodism, evangelised the entire length of the Trent and is memorialised both at Hull and in his native Burslem. The former CANAAN Methodist Chapel in Nottingham was a direct result of that epic journey.
Rev. Brian and Mrs. Brenda Kirkpatrick
at Mrs. Gwen Jones's garden party, July 1995
These days it is but a short drive from Stoke to Nottingham, yet one wishes that a little of what Clowes achieved might still happen.
A single year in the Nottingham Mission Circuit enabled us to meet many folk in that City: sitting outside the Poets' Corner and the Betting Shop in Bridgeway Centre talking to the locals was a memorable experience. It taught us there is still a "feel" for spiritual things if only we knew best how to meet it. Ostensibly we were a gap-filling Ministry at Bridgeway but both Centres of the Mission made us feel so much at home it was a genuine Circuit-Belonging. We think we got most of the mid-week life at both places and sampled the genuineness of what we call Methodist Fellowship.
We have ministered in the past with multi-cultured and multi-racial Churches but the year at Nottingham went well beyond anything we had previously shared. We were loved to LIFE by the natural joy expressed by so many people and greatly encouraged by the support of Patrick and Rosemary McCluskey whom we have known for many years. We came away truly wishing we could have stayed longer and perhaps reflecting on what it might have been to have been in the Circuit long before retirement. Our hope would be that we have contributed even a little to the ongoing work of the Lord in the Mission and our prayers are very obviously summed up in the words of Graham Kendrick as we look at our little brook.
. . . . FLOW RIVER FLOW, FLOOD THE NATIONS WITH GRACE AND MERCY.
SEND FORTH YOUR WORD, LORD, AND LET THERE BE LIGHT.
Thanks for the Memory
Love, Peace and Blessings to Everyone
BRIAN AND BRANDA KIRKPATRICK
Rev. H.B. Kirkpatrick, M.A., B.D., Stoke-on-Trent, 1st July 1997.
Mr. G. Ian Yates wrote the following obituary in the Methodist Recorder, 11 February 1999:
Harold Brian Kirkpatrick was born in Belfast in 1928 and left school at the age of 15 in 1944. His father had died and he had to be a breadwinner for the family. He worked in the Harland and Wolfe shipyard as an electrician, studying simultaneously at Belfast Technical College. Though he left school early he later studied for a London BD and a Manchester MA. Outside his work he was active in the Boys' Brigade. In the early 1950s he decided to come to England to work in a shipyard here. Though he was leaving behind family, the ties that bound him to them were strengthened by his departure and every year for the rest of his life he would go back to see them. Living and working on the Wirral, he quickly became involved in church life and before very long he heard the call to the ordained ministry. He candidated successfully and in 1954 he went to Hartley Victoria College. In 1958 he was stationed as a probationer in the Castletown circuit on the Isle of Man. In March 1959 he married Edith. Brian threw himself wholeheartedly into his new work and at the same time he conceived a deep love for the island. Later, on a piece of land he was given, he was to build his own bungalow. After his ordination Brian served in the following circuits: Crewe, where Graham was born, Leeds (Headingley), where Anna was born, and Stoke-on-Trent (Burslem Mission). A shadow fell across his Burslem ministry when Edith became ill and died. During his final years in Burslem a new relationship blossomed between him and Brenda, herself a widow, bringing joy and renewal to them both, marrying in 1983. He then served in Blackpool (South) and Frodsham (which circuit amalgamated in 1992 with Kersall and Tarporley circuit to become Delamere Forest). Towards the end of his time in Delamere Forest he was twice seriously ill, but on each occasion he recovered. Indeed, instead of retiring then , as he could have done, he gave an extra year of active work in Nottingham Central Mission circuit. Finally, in 1995, he and Brenda retired to Baddeley Green, Stoke-on-Trent. The secret of Brian's ministry was the fact that he excelled in the important things - preaching and pastoral care. His preaching was nourished by his wide reading and it was interesting, topical and passionate. He had a special gift of speaking to children and young people. His pastoral work was thorough. Every afternoon he would be out visiting. It was while celebrating Midnight Communion at Endon Methodist church that Brian was taken ill, dying early on Christmas morning in the 71st year of his life and the 42nd year of his ministry. It is fitting that he was doing what he loved most - ministering to God's people.
He will be remembered also for his good singing voice and his musicality. The Anniversary in May 1997 was enhanced by the musical evening at which he sang.
1996 was thirty years since the "new" Bridgeway Hall was opened and dedicated on Saturday 18 June 1966. The Anniversary on Saturday and Sunday 15 and 16 June 1996 commemorated that opening and helped to recreate the spirit of that era and rekindle the memories of those who worshipped or lived in The Meadows during the Swingin' Sixties. The Saturday Anniversary Supper was followed by a Sixties-style musical entertainment by Fred and Mavis Parnell. Then on Sunday the services were conducted by the Rev. Harry Salmon (Coventry) assisted by Sister Vera, Minister and Deaconess respectively when the building was opened in 1966. An exhibition of over one hundred colour slides of The Meadows of the period were shown at various times during the weekend.
One feature of the late 1990s was the table-top sales on Saturday mornings from 10.00 am to 12 noon.
The West Indian ladies who come to Bridgeway Hall Mission told of their early experiences in Britain and how the Mission served them. [Mrs. Augusta Benjamin, Mrs. Mel Browne, Mrs. Aurora Warner, and Mrs. Selina (Madge) Rogers, in conversation with Ian Grant 19/8/1998.]
Mrs.Aurora Warner said: " I came to Nottingham in 1955 after I had lived in London. The Reverend Salmon was the minister here when I came."
Mrs. Selina (Madge) Rogers said: "I came to England in July 1956. The first time I went to Arkwright Street Church was when there was a test match on at Trent Bridge cricket ground. Apart from one short reading from the Bible everything in the service seemed to be about the cricket. I said to myself that if that is what the services are like here I am not coming back, but when I retired my friend here suggested I came to Bridgeway. During the war we sent over food parcels to Britain. In the West Indies we were British Subjects. The only difference is that we are now living here. I will always consider myself as a West Indian."
Mrs Augusta Benjamin noted that she had come to Bridgeway in the sixties.
Mrs. Mel Browne stated that: "I came from Old Basford in 1979 to this church. Fraser Smith [1975-82] was the minister then. He was O.K. Augusta agreed and said that sometimes he would bring his children to her to baby-sit. Mel stated that Derek Smith had been very good with the kids also. My girls went to Wilford Meadows School but they were involved with netball and Derek Smith was very keen with that.
General discussion followed.
The coloured people didn't push themselves to get involved. I have always felt that if you push yourself there will be someone who says: "Don't come". So what we generally did was come to church and sneak back out and go home and that's it. At that time I just came to church. I would come from home and then straight back. There was no coffee bar then. I was working so I was not involved with the church very much. I didn't get to know the people at the church. We didn't stay for class or have a class leader. Mrs. Derek [Win] Smith did run a class for church members and a few black women used to attend when they were not working. In the West Indies we had classes. Looking at it now, I don't think it is prejudice: it is lack of communication. You stand there wondering what I am like and I wonder what you are like. Each person is waiting to make a move. I don't remember whether it was Andrew or Fraser Smith told us once that we must invite people to our houses and to learn about each other's culture; and to lessen the gap. There is too wide a gap. We came to England for a better life, really. After the sugar-cane stopped being grown and they brought in sugar beet the people were made redundant; they weren't needed any more. Then they brought in cotton and that was followed by the Japanese making synthetic fibre so we were made redundant again. The English, instead of investing in factories and such like, just left the people and got out, unlike in the Dutch or American West Indies. It all depends on how you look at life. It was very, very hard when we were growing up in the West Indies. So anyone who could come out liked to come out. After the war they wanted labour in England so we were invited to come. We paid our dues, because we did a lot of hard work. People couldn't afford to go back again. They were trapped. However, to be honest, I have no regrets. Another thing was, the West Indians would go to work and leave their children with a child minder. Not only did you have to support your family here, but we would send money back home for your parents, and things like that. It was very hostile when we first got here. When you went into church people gave you black looks. We can laugh about it now. Talking about stress, we should have had more stress. People would look at us and think we were carefree, but they got it wrong: we laugh a lot and joke a lot. But that is after you have done what you have to do; after you have paid your rent and bought food. People used to shop every day, but we didn't. We did one big shop at the weekend. The white people are doing it now, in the supermarkets, but in those days we never went to the shops every day. We did one big shop at the weekend and we made that food last. So if you buy a bottle of orange you tell your children that bottle of orange had to last all the week and when they had finished it during the week they would have to drink water instead.
But when Andrew Barker came that was when I started to come closer to the church. Most of the coloured people in the church had jobs, anyway, so we did not need help from the church to find jobs but Andrew [Rev. Barker] encouraged a lot of people. He was the first minister who helped the coloured people. It was Andrew who was really helpful. He would ask us to read [the Lesson] and get involved with things. I was on the Church Council. That was through Andrew inviting me. Then he asked me to be a steward. Andrew actually went to the West Indies to learn about our culture, on a three-months' sabbatical. He preached there. He climbed the volcano on Montserrat.
In the West Indies people would look on England as head of our motherland. People would go to America for holidays but to come to England was more "Home". The older people respected the Queen and Churchill more than their own leaders. It was the respect for the monarchy that avoided a lot of things that happened in other countries. This respect is dying out now. It is a pity.
When we first arrived in this country we didn't have regular pastoral visits. We had no visits from the church. Reverend Salmon passed by sometimes. Sometimes we requested a visit. A lot of the coloured people had a lot of respect for him. He didn't make us feel unwanted. He brought us closer to the church.
[Aurora] You hear about young people and drugs and things like that but they don't know about all the good things that are going on in the background. It is such a pity that people are not told about all the large number of coloured youth in the black churches who are doing so much good. You don't hear about them. Andrew was one of the Governors at the Wilford Meadows School. He used to lead assembly sometimes. He was chaplain of the Boys' Brigade. Gary Woods has been the Boys' Brigade leader for about eight or nine years  now. At one time the Boys' Brigade was really strong. They used to march along through The Meadows. We don't seem to be getting them now. They don't get involved with the church now. In Andrew's time he would occasionally get them to come to church for the colour parades. He would encourage them and their parents to come. There were plenty of girls and boys in the brigades but we ought to find a way of getting them into the church. It would be nice if we could get them to come and sing for us. But all that has faded away. I don't think the young people are interested nowadays. They get involved with so many other things, or they get bored. They are not going to come to church because there is so much else to attract them. In our time we did not have anything, so we went to Sunday School to get the excitement. They all have videos and computers. They have television in their bedroom. We didn't have anything else. When I first came here I saw everyone dressed up and going out and I thought I won't get a seat at the church. But they were all going to the pubs, not the church. I couldn't believe it. They had their fellowship there. That is why I say we should take the church to the pubs. Some people get the Spirit quickly, some don't.
The Caribbean evening on Saturday night [15/8/98] was a marvellous time. The white people helped and were not scared of our food. They were serving it and eating it. It was marvellous really.
The Luncheon Club was started about thirty years ago. Social Services provide the food. They send boxes of custard powder and we make the custard. We also make the gravy. The people who come pay for the meal. They also pay the ambulance for bringing them. They are all outside people who come, not our members. They come from Clifton and quite a lot of other places.
We like the new [Progressive, 1998] Sunday Evening service.
You asked for an anecdote. When I was at school we used to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday on the 24th May by parading in the streets singing "God who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet". When we got back to our separate schools we were given a bag of eats. When I remembered the bag of goodies I used to burst my lungs with the "mightier yet", wishing that every day was Queen Victoria's Birthday.
The Rev. Patrick (Pat) Aldred was appointed to the Circuit and assumed responsibility for Bridgeway Hall from 1st September 1995. At that time he was in his late twenties and came direct from college in Bristol, with his wife, Lidia, and their two children, Reuben (2.5 years) and Abigail (10 months). Although this was his first circuit, he brought experience from his years in the Royal Navy, from work as a salesman, a year at Cliff College, and two years as a Lay Worker in Gibraltar where he was responsible for a non-alchoholic bar, developing a new church and serving as a chaplain to H.M. Forces. As a probationer Minister, Pat had certain studies to complete. Most of his ministry concentrated on Bridgeway but some time was also spent at the Central Mission.
In October 1998 he left Bridgeway Hall to join the King's Regiment at Carrick Garrison, North Yorkshire, as Padre. Members of Bridgeway Hall said that his ministry "had been much too short" but he was remembered for being a "brilliant preacher" and creating the opportunity for the "the Spirit to move within my heart". "You have done so much for us in that time and we are thankful for your ministry to us."
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