……….. in the entrance, in the church and in the hall – 14 in all – created by church members, church organizations and people or groups from the community. This was the Roydon United Reformed Church Celebration Weekend. The celebration was of 200 years since the formation of an Independent (Congregational) Church in 1811, some 13 years after (as the history of the church relates) “The benighted state of Roydon, a populous village in Essex, has lately excited the attention of a few friends to religion in the neighbourhood, who with becoming zeal and prudence, have erected there, at their own expense, a small but neat house for the worship of God and the preaching of his gospel” The building referred to was initially “A Christian Church of the Baptist Denomination”
I joined members of the church for a fish and chip supper on Saturday evening, they had been in the church all day welcoming people from the local community who had come in to look at the flowers, see the small display showing the various phases of the development of the present building erected in 1851, have a cup of tea or coffee and generally showing their support for the only non-conformist church in the village.
and in the afternoon the normal congregation was joined by others from churches in the Hertfordshire and Essex Border Ecumenical Area of which Roydon is a part.
As with many small churches people were quick to tell me how they were all getting older and fewer in number but much slower to reflect on the impact even a small and aging congregation can have, just by being Christians in the community, amongst their friends and family and in partnership with others through the Ecumenical Area links or within the village, as they combine with the local Anglican Church to serve their immediate area.