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First church News

February 13, 2024 February 2024, Regular Features No Comments

So, another ecclesiastical year has bitten the dust with the new one well under way. 2023 at First Church was deemed to be a success – whether judged by the performance of the dedicated team responsible for church admin, the credit balance from fundraising activities or even the quality and venue of each Sunday’s choral cacophony. 

The efforts and delivery of our pianist/organist Bob Bargh deserves special note (literally and figuratively!)

Firstly, on account of the continuing dexterity of his venerable playing fingers given their (and his) age of 94, and then for his willingness to turn up rain or shine and deliver every week at the keyboards. We the congregation respond by singing or shouting as lustily as we dare, even if the psalmic melody we hear is a complete mystery.

Church attendance without music would be a drab affair and as rank amateurs we don’t do too badly. Due to their familiarity the organ – assisted Christmas carols verged on the professional (not confessional!).

As you know Sunday services are normally conducted in the community hall adjacent to the church. This is in keeping with the relative informality of these occasions (minus any clapping or shouting) because lively conversations both before and after the service are the First Church way and are evidence of its tight communal spirit.

It is a well-known fact of contemporary church life that congregations are dwindling in size and tending towards the geriatric. You could say that this just confirms that age and wisdom go together! 

Most people know what an octogenarian is and First Church has a few of them. 

Then for those who did a bit of Latin at school there’s the nonagenarian – those on the far side of 90 years. We’ve just had one of our number join their ranks. Mr Ted Colenso. Here’s a bloke who’s done more for the community unobtrusively for most of that period. Came here from Bristol at age 15 under a “welfare programme,” was assigned some foster parents and worked steadily. 

Right out of Dickens.

Hadn’t even seen a cow before. Was shifted a couple of times to other farms. Thence to lengthy periods as Fire Chief for Martinborough and working for the local Power Board. Later, slowing down, Ted took to the vineyards and woodturning. Now he tends his worm farm. One of the good guys. Same be said of his wife Pam who benignly controls everything in Martinborough.

Last word for 2023 and beyond must go to our Minister, Jim Veitch, who wrote on 22 December: “We will not celebrate Christmas Day. We will close – as it turns out – out of respect for our fellow Christians who live in the West Bank and Gaza and in Israel and Palestine side by side with Muslims, Jews, people of other faiths and of no faith where Jesus will be reborn – metaphorically – not in a crib but amongst the stones of concrete rubble singed with the smell of war.”

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