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MINISTERS OF THE

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MINISTERS OF THE Powered By Docstoc
					CONGREGATIONALISM IN CURRY RIVEL AND
THE FORMATION OF THE MID SOMERSET
GROUP OF CHURCHES


1827 to 1940
                     MINISTERS OF THE

CURRY RIVEL CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH 1865—1940




        WILLIAM J. BULL          ………..       1865—1871

        GEORGE LITTLEMORE ……                 1872---1877

        JAMES GROSVENOR            …….       1878---1881

        G .ROBERTSON               …….       1882---1890

        W.H. HAMPTON,                May1891---Oct. 1891

        G. LUCKETT                 …….       1892---1893

        FREDERICK T. HYDE          …….       1894---1895

        JOHN PHELPS                 …….       1897---1901

        J. WRIGHT DAVIS             …….       1902—1908

        HARRY KIRKPATRICK           ……        1909---1923

        A. HAROLD READ              …….       1923---1927

        W. TODMAN                   …….       1928---1930

        CHARLES B. HUGHES            ……       1930---1934

        *A CARLEY                    ……       1936---1938

        *JOHN J. HAYNES               ……       1938---



    * In association with Rev. A. Lamb and the Mid Somerset Group.
           CONGREGATIONALISM IN CURRY RIVEL

                                1827---1940.

The congregational Chapel at Curry Rivel was opened in the year 1840. The
centenary which is being celebrated this year 1940, is not of founding of the church
but of the opening of the present place of worship. It appears that no records of
church or other meetings were made until the year 1866. In spite of investigation the
writer is unable to present any detailed history of the Church from the time of its
formation in 1827 till 1866. It is a pity that no knowledge of the opening of the
Chapel in 1840 is obtainable. This would have given added interest to the Centenary
Celebrations.

The following extract is taken from the “Annual Report of the Somerset
Congregational Union, One-hundredth Anniversary, 1896” :-

                               ‘Curry Rivel    (1827)’

The origin of the present cause is said to be due to some disagreement in the Parish
Church community, owing to the removal of an evangelical clergyman, who had acted
as curate-in-charge, and the appointment of one who introduced an advanced ritual.
For many years prior to this a room had been used for preaching services. In 1825, the
Home Missionary of the district writes:” I have agreed for the use of the schoolroom,
at Curry Rivel, when it is enlarged, for seven years. I have also set on foot a penny a
week subscription.” The room was publicly opened for worship in 1827.
The present Chapel was opened in 1840.
The Chapel in 2006
The Old Manse and attached property which belonged to the Chapel late 1800’s:
 It is generally understood that after a few years regular ministry the place was almost
forsaken. Subsequently, the Rev. G. Taylor, Lambrook, managed the pulpit
arrangements until 1864.
 In 1865 a Rev.W. J. Bull accepted the pastorate. The Church of 28 members was
formed in January, 1866. A Sunday School was started, and in September of the same
year Mr Bull was ordained.”
The earliest roll of Church Members contains the names of eight persons admitted in
1845, one in 1846, and one in 1847. A footnote says: “ These copied from an old
book by the Rev. W. Bull done in connection with the Church when reorganised,
January., 1866,” The Baptismal Register contains the names of Rev, John Bishop and
Rev, William Nicholls as officiating ministers, each at four Baptisms which took
place prior to 1864. The first of these eight baptisms took place on July 27th 1840.
It is probable that these two men were resident ministers. If so the periods of their
ministries are not known. An old printed paper containing a list of the rules of the
church says that the church was re-formed in 1866.

 The earliest church minutes are a record of a meeting held on January 3rd, 1866 and
these state: “At a meeting of those who had been communicants in connection with
this cause it was resolved „ That these communicants should constitute a church by
becoming members, but that all who from this date applied should be received in the
usual way.‟

Then follows a list of eight rules, the first of which is “That this society of Christians
be termed the Congregational Church, Curry Rivel, To consist of the Pastor, two
deacons and the members elect.”

Mr. W. J. Bull was ordained on September 4th 1866. By the year 1867 the
enlargement of the chapel had become a necessity. This was done and the building
was re-opened for worship on Wednesday, September 4th, 1867, in the presence of a
large crowd. Rev W, J, Bull, in giving a report at the evening meeting, said that the
enlargement was the result of insufficient accommodation for the ordinary
congregation, and that the alterations consisted of sittings for nearly 60 persons,
vestry, improved ventilation, lighting, etc., at a cost of about £125. He informed the
meeting that £90 had been collected, leaving £35 to be obtained at that meeting.
Later in the meeting a collection was made “ and in a very short time the whole sum
required was obtained.” £125 was a very large sum for a small country church to
raise in 1867. It needs but little thought to estimate the present-day approximate
equivalent of that sum.

A link with opening of the chapel in 1840 was provided in the person of the Rev. A,
Oram, of Othery, who said, “perhaps he as the only Minster there when that chapel
was opened 27 years since. He had been associated with it in that time of the
Church‟s weeping and he was glad to be with them in the time of its prosperity.” The
report, which is from the “Weston Gazette” then contains words of interest to all those
who desire to maintain the Free Church principle: “ The Rev, C. Chapman, M.A.,
then spoke on the advantages of the voluntary principle, stating that this days
proceedings were an evidence that villages could support their own places of worship
without compulsory payments.”
At the end of 1869 the membership of the Church was 60. Curry Rivel has had
the honour of sending a man into the ministry. Walter Henry Howe, a member of
the Curry Rivel Church, was transferred to Nottingham Institute,” which later was
known as Paton Congregational College. When this took place is not known, but in a
minute of a meeting held December 29th, 1869 Mr. Howe is spoken of as a student of
New College, London, from which it appears that he began his training at the
Nottingham Congregational Institute and completed it at New College. On two
subsequent occasions during these last hundred years Curry Rivel has renewed its
relationship with Paton College by receiving as its minister a student from that college
in 1909 and again in 1938 another student from the same college.

In 1871 the Church purchased a cottage at Drayton for Mission purposes.

In 1871 Rev, W, J, Bull received a unanimous invitation to become minister of the
Church at Bodmin, in Cornwall. The Curry Rivel Church tried very hard to persuade
its minister to remain with them and even went so far as to ask the Bodmin Church
(Mr. Bull concurring) if they would relieve him from any engagements he had entered
into with them. The Bodmin Church however, did not feel able to do this, and Mr
Bull left Curry Rivel for Bodmin in 1871. He preached farewell sermons on
December 17th, 1871. There is no doubt that Mr Bull was much beloved by his
people and this Church in those early years. Mr Bull revisited the Church on several
special occasions.

On February 11th, 1872 Rev. George Littlemore, a student of Cotton End College,
commenced his ministry, which continued till July 29th, 1877. The roll of Church
members for the year 1877 contains 53 names.


For a year the pulpit was supplied by students of the Bristol Congregational Institute.
Then on October 20th, 1878 Rev. James Grosvenor commenced his ministry. This
continued till June 1881. This minister suggested to his people that upon his
departure the County Union take the oversight of the Church for the time being
He saw this suggestion adopted before he left Curry Rivel. Mr.T. Hawkins, of
Taunton, undertook the oversight and worked with considerable success.
Rev, G. Robinson, a Student of Bristol Congregational Institute, now Western
College, Bristol, commenced his ministry on July 2nd 1882, and closed it on
February 2nd, 1890. Mr W. H. Hampton‟s ministry lasted only from May 1891 to
October of the same year, he as a student of the Bristol Congregational institute,
having failed to comply with the rules of the college.

The Rev, G. Lucketts ministry began in 1892 but extended only for one year.
The first mention of grouping occurs in a minute of a meeting held August 10th,
1893. It reads as follows:-
“At a meeting of the church and Congregation held to consider the desirability of
uniting the churches of Langport and Curry Rivel under one Pastorate it was the
general opinion that such an arrangement would not be conducive to the best interests
of ether Church.

The recognition Services of Rev. Frederick Thomas Hyde were held on March
14th, 1894.
A weeks special services (Saturday included) addressed by local ministers were held
in May 1894, culminating in a Public Tea and meeting on Whit Monday. It was
resolved in 1895 that a similar series be held preceding Whitsun of that year.
Whether this series was held is not known.
The Church and Congregation hear of Mr. Hyde‟s probable departure unanimously a
resolution earnestly requesting him reconsider the matter and remain with them. Mr.
Hyde removed to Chard in September, 1895.

Rev. J. Phelps, of Prestbury, Cheltenham, commenced his ministry on January
3rd 1897. The record of a Church Meeting held February 25th 1897 shows that the
sympathies of members reached out beyond their own parish. It is noteworthy as
showing the Churches international affairs. “A resolution of strong protest against the
proposed coercion of Greece by the present Government was passed and ordered to be
sent to the Member of Parliament by the minister.”

During 1897 a piece of land adjoining the Chapel was bought for £25 and a
border wall built at a cost of about £35. (this was to be a garden for the Old
Manse). Over £60 was raised within a year for the payment of the same. The minister
having told his people that he had received a call to the Church at Mitcheldean,
Gloucestershire, the Church and congregation unanimously adopted a resolution
asking him to give the matter serious consideration before accepting the call, they
“believing there was still a work for him to do in Curry Rivel.” Mr Phelps thanked
them for the confidence they had shown, but closed his ministry on October 27th
1901.

On July 13, 1902, Rev J. Davis, a student of Western College, Bristol,
commenced his ministry. He was ordained on September 15th, 1902.

Early in 1906 it became known that Mr. Thomas Mead of Midelney, a deacon of the
Church, who had recently died “had left a property for the carrying on of the work at
Drayton.” (Years later a chapel was built in memory of Thomas Mead, bearing his
name, almost opposite the primary school in the village)
THE DRAYTON CHAPEL IN 2006

At the County Union Meetings at Taunton in September, 1907, the question of the
advisability or otherwise of amalgamating Curry Rivel and Langport Churches was
discussed “in camera.”

This is the second time that the amalgamation of these two churches is mentioned in
the Church Records.

The Curry Rivel Church had the pleasure of entertaining the Eastern District of the
Somerset Congregational Union on November 6th, 1907, on the occasion of the
Autumn Meetings.

Again the question of amalgamation came to the fore. The record says: “Nov, 18th,
1907. The question of the Amalgamation was discussed at Bridgwater, but we are
informed that no resolution was passed.

On January 23rd of the following year a Meeting of the Church and Congregation was
held to discuss this question. “ The meeting was well attended and the question
thoroughly considered, after which it was unanimously decided against the scheme.”
Representatives were appointed to meet Rev. J. E. Flower, M.A., and Mr. G. N. Ford
of the Church Aid Society, London. These two gentlemen visited Curry Rivel and
conducted the services on March 29th, 1908. On the following day at 9 a.m. they met
the committee appointed for the purpose and with them discussed the advisability or
otherwise of amalgamating Curry Rivel and Langport Churches. “After much
discussion it was decided that such an amalgamation was impracticable. An
Executive Meeting was held at Langport the same day at 10.30 a.m. when the
question of the amalgamation was officially abandoned.

Rev. J. W. Davis preached his farewell sermons and closed his ministry at Curry
Rivel on December 27th, 1908.

On October 3rd, 1909 Rev. H. Kirkpatrick, of Paton Congregational College,
Nottingham, commenced his ministry, and was ordained on December 8th, of the same
year, those taking part being Principal Ritchie, Revs. W. Robenson, J. H. Cox, and S
Jones, Mr. J. E. Colthurst, and Mr. Hallett.
Mr. Kirkpatricks ministry extended throughout the the period of the Great War of
1914—18, and a reminder of the lighting regulations of the last war is contained in a
decision to buy paper blinds and paint the tops of the windows to keep in the light so
that evening services could be held as usual. A list of the men who fought in the
Great War and connected with the Church and Sunday School contains 29 names.
Two of them were killed.

Early in 1918 the Church expressed it willingness to release Rev. H. Kirkpatrick for
service with the Y.M.C.A. working among the Forces in France. Soon after, the
minister left to take up this work. The war being over, January 1919 sees him back at
Curry Rivel again.

By the end of 1920, the question of amalgamation had reached a further stage. On
December 14th, of that year a letter was received from the County Union Secretary
stating that it was proposed to group Curry Rivel, Langport, Low Ham, Henley,
Pitney, and Drayton Churches under Revs F. A. Jessop, H Kirkpatrick and W, Glover.
The question was discussed at a Church meeting on January 12th, 1921 and was not
favourably received.

We find the need for a schoolroom referred to on March 15th, 1923, when the General
Purposes Committee was instructed to go into the matter immediately and the
Secretary to write to the Chapel Building Society regarding a loan towards the
building expenses.

The Spring Meetings of the Eastern District of the Somerset Congregational Union
were held at Curry Rivel on March 1st, 1922 the preacher being the Moderator of the
Western Province, Rev. E. P. Powell, M.A.

The Rev. H. Kirkpatrick left Curry Rivel in the summer of 1923, his ministry of
nearly 14 years being the longest in the history of the Church (to that point).

The question of grouping Curry Rivel and Langport was not dead. The County Union
Secretary wrote to the Curry Rivel Secretary informing him that the Executive
Committee had recommended the grouping of Curry Rivel and Langport Churches
and that one minister look after the two churches thereby doing away with a resident
minister here.

This action was resented by the members and two of their number were appointed to
meet the Executive “and state our case and appeal for a reconsideration of the matter”.
This they did and once again the question was put aside. This was in 1923.
A lady and a gentleman whose names are not disclosed, having offered to lend
the Church £450 to build a new Manse. The Church at a meeting held on
September 14th, 1923, decided to accept this generous offer. A welcome tea was
held on November 19th, 1923, in honour of the new minister and his wife, Rev.
and Mrs. A. H. Read, and the Rev. A. H. Read, was inducted to the pastorate on
December 5th, 1923. It was largely owing to the prodigious labours of this ministry
that an immense scheme for building, reconstruction and renovation was carried
through. This scheme was known as the 1,000 Guineas Scheme. To raise this huge
sum was a tremendous task for a small country church to tackle. The money was
raised by means of household boxes, which were in use until September 26th, 1932,
and produced £144 4s. by special efforts, and by private subscriptions. To collect
many of these subscriptions Mr Read made countless journeys and travelled hundreds
of miles, the subscription list is a wonderful record of generosity. Under this 1,000
Guineas Scheme a new manse at Curry Rivel and a Mission Hall at Drayton
were built, a pipe organ installed and additional choir seats erected, gates and
walls erected and sundry repairs carried out.

The New Manse : building began in 1924




The Scheme received the support of the Moderator of the Western Province, the
County Union, and the Secretary of the Congregational Union of England and Wales.
Before this scheme was inaugurated the work of the Church was seriously crippled
through lack of premises, the only available premises at Curry Rivel being the Chapel
and the old Manse.
The Somerset Congregational Union unanimously passed the following resolution on
September 23rd, 1924, at their Autumn Meetings at Taunton: - “ The Assembly of the
Somerset Congregational Union commends to the churches the 1,000 Scheme of the
Curry Rivel Church and the Drayton Mission. At present Curry Rivel has no School
Hall, no vestries, on class rooms, and the work at Drayton is carried on in a room
rented for one hour on Sunday afternoon. When completed the scheme will provide-

(1) A new manse at Curry Rivel;
(2) A new Hall at Drayton;
(3) Use of the old manse, Curry Rivel, when reconditioned, for
   General church and Sunday School purposes;
(4) New platform for additional choir seats and pipe organ at Curry Rivel;
and so enable the people in these places, as the sole witness they‟re of the Free
Church faith and life, to render a wider and more efficient service.
A service of dedication of pipe organ and new choir seats was held on March 12th,
1924 and early in that year the Chapel was renovated.

The Schoolroom (built 1933)
The Interior of the Church 2006




The new Manse was erected on land adjoining the Chapel. This land was bought in
1897 for use as a Manse garden and walled in. The stone laying ceremony of the new
Manse took place on August 27th, 1924. This was a great day in the history of the
Church. The scripture was read by Rev. J.H. Stranger of the County Union, and the
stones were laid and speeches made by Mr, R. Alford, M.A., J.P., on behalf of Curry
Rivel and District; Rev A.H. Read (minister); Mr.J. C. Paull, of Martock, on behalf of
local Free Churches; Miss S. A. Shapland, on behalf of the Sunday School; Mr. R. E.
Read, of Long Sutton, on behalf of the Eastern District of the Somerset
Congregational union; and Mr. W. Shapland (Senior Deacon). The Curry Rivel Band
Played selections. Following upon this ceremony a public tea was partaken of in a
marquee in a field opposite, and short speeches were made by ministers of
neighbouring churches and others. A public meeting, which was presided over by Mr.
W. C. Dare (Montacute) and addressed by Revs. E. Hartland Brine (Bridgwater) and
H. J. Maddford (Bournemouth), was held in the Chapel in the evening. This was
followed by a concert in the marquee.

The new Manse was opened on December 3rd, 1924, the Opening Ceremony being
performed by the Mayor of Glastonbury and the minister, Rev. A. H. Read. A service
in the chapel, a Public Tea and Conference in the Sewers Hall, a pleasing feature of
which was the attendance of the Vicar of Curry Rivel, a public meeting in the Chapel
and a Concert in the Sewers Hall completed the day‟s proceedings.
The writer has had the privilege of visiting many manses in this country, but has not
yet seen one superior to the manse at Curry Rivel. All ministers at Curry Rivel since
1927 owe to Rev. A. H. Read a great debt of gratitude.
After the completion of the new manse the old manse was used for class rooms and
general church purposes .

Mr. Thomas Mead, a member and a senior deacon of the Church, who died May 11th,
1905 bequeathed to the minister and deacons of the Curry Rivel Congregational
Church land and two cottages and directed them “to apply the rents or income of the
said cottages and lands from time to time for the maintenance of the Congregational
Cause at Drayton.” It was Mr. Meads intention, had he lived to build a chapel on
this land. It was a matter often talked over between him and his fellow deacons, and
among his papers there was a plan of the proposed site, drawn by a builder.
The old mission-room at Drayton, being past repair, was sold and on the land
bequeathed by Mr. T. Mead the present Congregational Mission Chapel was erected.
The stone-laying ceremony took place on October 21st, 1925. Stones were laid by Mr
Thomas Mead Junr. a grandson of the late Mr. Thomas Mead ; Mrs Sidney Slade, a
daughter ; Mr. Frank Griffin, a son-in-law and a member of the Currry Rivel Church;
and Mr.W. Scammell (Stapleton), a member of the County Union Executive. A
public tea and meeting were held afterwards in the Granary at Smocklands. This
beautiful little building, which is known as Mead Memorial Hall, was opened by the
Mayor of Yeovil, Alderman J. W. Petter, and J.P. on March 10th, 1926.

Thus did the Rev. A. H. Read see the dreams of Church building and reconstruction,
which were so dear to him, become actualities. By January 1933 all financial
commitments in connection with the 1,000 Guineas Scheme had been met.
The first recorded connection with Low Ham is contained in a minute of a Church
meeting held August 10th, 1926, Church, when it was reported that the oversight of
Low Ham Church, which for some time previous had been in the hands of the
minister, was from August 1st, of that year wholly transferred to Langport.
This connection with Low Ham was renewed in 1936, though in a different form.

The Rev. A. Read resigned the pastorate on November 29th, 1927. He deserves our
utmost sympathy in the nervous breakdown which led to his resignation. The Church
at Curry Rivel has cause to be proud of the work that he did, and it is heartening to
read how the Church stood by him in his hour of sore trial. A unanimous resolution
of sympathy was passed in which the Church referred to him as “a helpful preacher,
devoted friend and pastor, recklessly spending his strength in bringing the church
through to a place of honour in the community and the Union.”

A series of Mission services was held in the Church in October, 1927.
Early in 1928 the question of grouping was again considered and again turned
down.
From a Church Meeting held on May 8th, 1928 an invitation was sent to Rev. W.
Todman of Cannington, to become pastor. He accepted and soon afterwards
commenced his ministry at Curry Rivel.

A list of church members compiled on November 25th, 1929, shows 17 names for
Curry Rivel and 7 for Drayton.
Servere flooding was evidently experienced in the county in the winter of 1929-30.
For the offerings both Curry Rivel and Drayton on Sunday, January 12th, 1930, were
given to the Somerset Floods Fund.

On January 7th, 1930, Mr Todman left for the Cerne Abbas Group Dorset.
A joint pastorate with Langport was again under discussion in March 1930, but as
there was a prospective minister for Curry Rivel no further steps were taken.

The Rev. C. B. Hughes commenced his ministry in July 1930, and was inducted to
the pastorate on August 13th, of that year. Revs. H. Jenkins, M.A. (Moderator), J. J.
Clarredge, and r. N. Davies took part in the induction service.
Grouping again comes to the fore and this time six churches are involved in the
suggested group. They were Curry Rivel, Drayton, Langport, Low Ham, Henley
and Pitney. Rev. C. B. Hughes was to be superintendent minister and was to be
assisted by an evangelist. But the idea was again turned down. This was on August
18th, 1930.

By April, 1933, plans of the proposed new schoolroom had been prepared and
the erection of this building was commenced soon afterwards.

The schoolroom was opened by Mr Norman Wills, of Weston-Super-Mare, on
October 25th, 1933. Thus a further big step and a necessary one in building extension
was taken. This pleasant bright room which adjoins the Chapel at the back has proved
to be a great boon. Adjacent kitchen and scullery form part of the new building.
The Kitchen 2006




Meanwhile the old manse had been sold and was again being used as a residence.
The cottage adjoining the old manse, once the property of the Church, had also been
sold. On Sunday, October 14th, 1934, the Moderator of the Western Province, Rev. H.
Jenkins, M.A., visited the Church and explained a scheme for grouping Curry Rivel,
Langport and Somerton Churches and at a meeting held on October 22nd, 1934, the
Church agreed to the principle of grouping.

The Rev. C. B. Hughes resigned the pastorate in November, 1934, on account of ill-
health and went to live in Swanage, assuring the Church that the the proposed
grouping scheme had no bearing on his dissuasion.

A meeting of local Congregational churches was held at Langport on December 14th,
1934, to consider the question of grouping. Curry Rivel and Drayton sent delegates.
Their report being received it was decided to adjourn the meeting until further
information was available from officers of the County Union. Later it was reported
that Somerton Church had withdrawn from the scheme, and at a meeting held on
February 5th, 1935, the Curry Rivel Church felt that no good purpose would be served
by further considering the scheme.

Six weeks later a communication from the Moderator with reference to a joint
pastorate with Langport was received, but it was decided to adhere to the resolution
of February 5th.
On January 6th, 1936, grouping was again up for discussion. Alternate suggestions
were made by the Church to the Moderator. Then on January 12th, events took a new
turn. A letter from the Moderator expressing doubt as to the success of alternative
suggestions was read, and a minute of January 6th, was rescinded so that Church
might further consider the proposed Grouping Scheme. The outcome of this was that
the Rev. A. Lamb, of Henstridge and Stalbridge, visited Curry Rivel on Sunday
January 9th, 1936, and conducted an afternoon service. After the service Mr Lamb
conducted an informal talk on the benefits, social and spiritual, to be derived from
grouping.

At a Church Meeting held on January 24th, 1936, Mr H. J. Pollard, J.P., of
Taunton, County Union Treasurer, spoke on the financial aspect of grouping and
answered several questions. At this meeting the Church decided to join a group of
churches comprising of Somerton, Langport, Curry Rivel, Kingston, Ilchester,
Pitney, Low Ham, Henley and Drayton. On March 5th, Rev A. Lamb attended a
meeting to explain further details, and on April 5th, the Mid Somerset Group of
congregational Churches came into being. Thus the question of grouping which
had first been broached in 1893 and had repeatedly been brought before local
churches for 43 years had at last been answered in affirmative and grouping became
an actuality.

The Group was served by Rev. A. Lamb as superintendent Minister, residing in
Somerton; Rev. A. Carley as assistant, living in the Manse at Curry Rivel; and Rev.
H. J. E. Vickery as assistant, residing at Kingston. The three ministers were welcomed
by the Curry Rivel Church at a meeting on April 22nd, 1936. Their Induction Service
took place at Langport on May 20th, 1936. The Church was filled for this service, and
the following took part; Revs. H. Jenkins., MA (Moderator), R. C. Gillie, M.A. D. C.
L., C. Hodges, B. A. Messrs H. J. Pollard, J.P. and F. C. P. Avis. At a public tea
preceding the induction service and presided over by Mr,J. H. Mackie, J. P., of Castle
Cary, speeches of welcome were given by a number of ministers and laymen. Rev R.
C.Gillie conducted a service in the afternoon. The new Group was given an
auspicious beginning.

At the Annual Meeting of the Church and Congregation held on January 5th, 1938, it
was stated that the final instalment had been paid off the debt on the Schoolroom.
Thus the various building extension schemes which had been begun in 1840 with the
erection of the Chapel, and continued with its enlargement in 1866, erection of new
manse in 1924, Mead Memorial Hall, Drayton, in 1926, and schoolroom in 1933,
were now completed and all expenses met.

On March 28th, 1938, members of the Church and Congregation met to bid farewell to
Rev. A. and Mrs. Carley upon their leaving for East Knoyle and Hindon, Wilts.
The Rev. H. J. E. Vickery left the Group in September 1937. Following the departure
of the two assistant ministers it was decided that a re-arrangement take place in the
ministerial staffing of the Group, the Group from henceforth to be served by two List
A ministers as co-pastors.

On August 3rd, the Rev. J.J. Haynes, of Paten Congregational College,
Nottingham, with Mrs Haynes, settled in the Manse at Curry Rivel, and began
his ministry as co-pastor with Rev. A. Lamb.
 Mr Haynes was ordained to the Congregational ministry and inducted to the co-
pastorate of the Mid Somerset Group of Churches at Langport on September 7th,
1938.

Rev A. R. Henderson, M.A. D.D. (Principal Emeritus, Paton College), Rev. Prof. H.F.
Sanders,B.A. D.D., Revs. H. Jenkins, M. A. (Moderator), C. J. Martin (Sec. N. Bucks
Cong Union), A. Axe (Sec. Som. Cong Union), and Mr F. C. P. Avis took part.
The Church was filled. At a public tea, presided over by Rev. Lamb, greetings were
expressed by visiting ministers and others and in the afternoon a well attended service
was conducted by Dr Henderson.

Without the valuable service of Lay preachers the mid Somerset Group could not be
maintained, and Curry Rivel acknowledges its gratitude to these men. Thirteen
services are held in the Group Churches each Sunday and of these nine are conducted
by lay preachers. One of the great needs of the Group is that it should provide more
of its own lay preachers. An encouraging beginning has been made in this direction.
A Group Committee conducts the business of the Group. On this committee Curry
Rivel has three representatives. For the purposes of convenience the Group has been
divided into two pastoral areas. In other matters the two ministers collaborate and
conduct services in all the churches of the Group.

The renovation of the Chapel having become urgently necessary, it was decided to
raise funds for this by holding a Gift Day, in preparation for which letters were
circulated to every household in the parish, to absent friends formerly associated with
the Church, and to certain others friends in the Group. The Gift Day was held on June
21st, 1939; the appeal met with a generous response; £44 7s 0d. was received a
remarkable result for so small a church and a testimony to the principle of direct
giving.

„The Chapel had now been renovated in preparation for the centenary Celebrations to
be held on May 26th,- June 2nd, 1940. To meet the cost of renovation we have to date
(May 1940) £52 4s 6d. We need £100. The story of the Centenary Celebrations
cannot yet be told, but if those of you who read these notes are able to attend these
celebrations you will form your own memory be able to add a record of them as a
postscript to this brief history.‟

The Church shares in the work overseas by supporting the London Missionary
Society. The earliest recorded contribution to this Society was made in January,
1866.

In writing this outline I have given only by name (except in a few necessary cases) the
ministers of the Church. This does not mean that I have overlooked the valuable
services rendered by lay members of the Church. This Church has been served by a
succession of faithful men and women members of whom we can be justly proud.
We thank God for them as well as for the Churches devoted ministers. A Minister
alone does not make a Church, but minister and people working in happy co-operation
do make a Church in which the sprit of God can work. You realise that there has been
much good, steady work done throughout the years, work that does not lend itself to
being chronicled, the faithful preaching of the Gospel week by week, teaching in the
Sunday school, pastoral visitation, and innumerable small but essential Christian
duties performed by pastor and people.

To me it has been a great stimulus to go through the records and live in spirit with
those who have laboured before us. May this collection of fragments prove of interest
and blessing to you also.

The Congregational Church at Curry Rivel has existed for over 100 years. It has
worshipped in the present Chapel for 100 years. A notable feature of this 100 years
history has been the remarkable building schemes which have been carried through.
But church building and extension is not an end in its self. The Church embarked
upon these building schemes in order that it might be better equipped to carry on its
great work. The Church exists to proclaim the Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God,
to promote fellowship with God and with man, to call forth and maintain that quality
of life to which we give the name Christian. The need for this Gospel, this
fellowship, this life, is as great to day as ever it was. We meet under a cloud of war to
celebrate the Centenary of the opening of our Chapel, but we must not meet in a sprit
of defeatism. The Church of Christ has undergone many trials throughout the
centuries. It still endures. The Congregational Church at Curry rivel, a branch of that
great world Church, has in its 100 years history been subject to many vicissitudes. It
still endures.

What of the next 100 years? That depends on the young people of today. Jesus Christ
still has the power of calling forth all that is best in youth. No finer cause awaits the
consecration of youths enthusiasm and vigour than that which bears Christ‟s name.

                          What matter through we seem to fail
                          Oft in good we plan,
                          If in the end we know and feel
                          We‟ve done the best we can.

We look backward. We look forward. We thank God for Curry Rivel Congregational
Church.

J J Haynes
1940

Reprinted by Mr M Mason in 2006
Photos added by Mr S Beney in 2006

				
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