Needham Market in Suffolk was the venue for the weekend.

 This church is celebrating 350 years of Christian witness in this small historic town and the weekend of 26th and 27th May was the beginning of four months of special events.

On Saturday evening there was a concert featuring poetry readings, music, dance and drama taken from the 17th century. They were all performed to a high standard by members of the church. The authentic feel was enhanced by costumes made by a church member and refreshments made from 17th century recipes.

Clearly a huge amount of work had gone into this evening’s entertainment but further work had gone into creating a timeline –

Time Line round the church

displayed round the sanctuary featuring the context of the three and a half centuries and highlighting the local matters that had developed as a result of that wider context. The

John Fairfax

timeline began with a picture of the first dissenting minister John Fairfax and as I looked at his picture I couldn’t help wondering what he would have made of a female, lay Moderator. I like to think that his dissenting nature might have been rather pleased that the resulting denominations could make such a brave decision.

On Sunday morning there was a service of celebration – Pentecost made a good theme for looking back as well as forward into the future. The church has a number of banners made by church members and this was an occasion to dedicate a new 350th anniversary banner. During the service we heard how the design had evolved and after the service two of the members who had helped to make it talked enthusiastically about the fun of working together on these projects.

This is a church full of talent and enthusiasm but talent and enthusiasm which is nurtured and used for the glory of God.

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