60 Years of the Women’s Fellowship

Sunday October 20th 2019

Today we had a lovely celebratory service and lunch for our Women’s Fellowship 60th anniversary, it was so special to have some of the original members of the fellowship with us to share a delicious lunch and a special cake

St Nicholas Women’s Fellowship, was formed in 1959.

This potted history was orginally written for the 30th Anniversary in 1989 by Cybil & Vera Gawkrodger.

It has been updated to bring us to our Sixtieth Anniversary in the Year 2019

A reading from the book of St. Nicholas
By Sister Vera and Sister Sybil

Reading from the Book of St Nicholas
Chapter 1, beginning at verse 1.

In the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine it came to pass that the women of the house of Nicholas did say to one another that the time has come to forsake our Young Wives group and be hereinafter called the Women’s Fellowship. And so, it was.

The meetings were to be held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month and would be presided over by Mighty Millicent, who had journeyed from the Noble House of Emmanuel and who was espoused to David also of that place and a man of the cloth.

And, therefore, it was decreed on 20th August that all women should assemble at eight o’clock in the Hall of the parish and the word was spread abroad even unto such places as Homestead Crescent, Parrswood Road, Burnage lane and Kingsway.

And it was agreed that all who came forth should be taxed at 2/6d.for a year and also pay 3d per gathering so that they may drink and be refreshed.

These noble women did learn and see many wondrous things from speakers who had travelled from far and wide.

And lo, after 6 years the time came for Mighty Milicent to journey south and a new era began.

And another leader came forth, she of the Noble House of Fallowfield named Nellie and there was much rejoicing in the land

At this time the man of the cloth was Dennis he of the Noble Girth who had travelled to us from the village of Bacup over the fields on a donkey.

In those days there were sales of jumble, and the people would bring their unwanted raiment for the benefit of others and the women of the house of Nicholas would gather in the afternoons and sort out the raiment hoping to find something that would become them.

And lo, in the evening when the lamps were lit, the throng would rush through the doors and there were cries of “How much?”. Even the dealers who did buy many things to he sold again in the Market Place. And when all were gone there would be the counting of the money and a cry would go up “We’ve made £38. 17.9d”

After 3 years had passed Nellie of the house of Fallowfield did hand over to a new leader. And so it was that the Musical Marjorie, she of the fair hair and sweet voice did assume command and the year was one thousand nine hundred and sixty eight

And it came to pass at this time that the tax for the meetings had to be raised and there was much muttering amongst the women and the figure rose from 3d to 4,d, then 6d and then 1/ and they said to one another “How can this be? And they were sore troubled.

At the feast of Christmas, it was decreed that there would be a gathering in the Hall of the Parish for all the men and women and the fair Marjorie said ”let us rejoice with music and dancing and wear our finest raiment and jewels. All did come and there was food and wine and the hall was decked with holly.

About this time the law of the land was changed, and we did learn that there would be no more shillings and pence, but that decimal currency would come into being. This did cause much confusion for tax would now be 15p

And the time came for Dennis of the Noble Girth to travel across the sea to the Isle of Man. And then there came another minister who had travelled in lands afar off. And so, It was that Brian Barker, who had spread the word of the Lord In Ashton did take up residence in the House of Nicholas.

During this ministry it was ordained by the General Synod that an Alternative Service Book of Prayer be augmented. This caused great agitation and the people whispered privily amongst themselves and called the book ‘All so Bewildering’,

And on a cold winter’s night the women did meet in Godly fellowship and partook of hotpot and apple pie and there were those who had to slacken their belts for they had eaten too much.

After 14 _fruitful years Fair Marjorie of the sweet voice did relinquish her leadership. And so it was that yet another from Homestead Crescent, Patricia, she of the deeper voice, ascended to this honour and the year was one thousand nine hundred and eighty two.

One day Brian did arise and said “The time has come for me to take my tender loving care to the congregation of the House of Mary, in Reddish. And so it came to pass.

Many moons later from the House of Paul in Blackley came Roy whose forebears came from the East who was espoused to Eileen and had begat two sons Stephen and Michael who played many musical Instruments and made joyful sounds.

After 60 years the House of Nicholas had begun to crumble, and water did pour through the roof and through the window cracks and Roy the Rector declared that it was requisite that many shekels were needed for the building and also for the Quota’. A number of Coffee Mornings and Shows of Fashion and Music took place and people came from far and wide and goodly sums were raised.

In the year one thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight, Patricia of the deeper voice did exclaim “It is time another took over from me” And it had been a good six years.

And lo from outside the House of Nicholas came forth Margaret Elizabeth, commonly known as Peggy, to bring us to the 30th Anniversary. The tax was now raised to £1.50p for a year and 25p per gathering to take us into the next decade and there were 46 members.

And so it came to pass that after 4 years Peggy did ask that somebody else should come and take over the burden of the Fellowship. There was much talking amongst the members with cries of ‘Not I’ or ‘I’d be no good’ and ‘I wouldn’t know what to do’, until Patricia of the deep voice did agree to take the mantle once again. Alas after a few moons Pat along with her spouse Russell did take their chattels to Derbyshire afar off and the Vice Chairman· Christine (she also of Homestead Crescent) did take over the reins and the members were joyful and glad of heart

In the year Nineteen hundred and ninety-three, a new Chairman was elected, a spinster of the Parish whose name was Sybil and who did not come from Homestead Crescent’ The tax was again raised to £2 for a year and 30p for a gathering.

After two more years, Roy, whose forebears came from the East was called upon to leave the House of Nicholas together with his spouse Eileen and 2 sons and travel to the House of Jerome and the people were left in the wilderness for many months’.

Now about this time it had been decreed by the Elders of the Church of England that women should be ordained and be allowed to minister to the people. There was much muttering, and many were against It but the people were persuaded and so It came to pass. Thus, it was in the year of our Lord, Nineteen hundred and ninety six the Rev. Lynne Connolly was inducted as our 9th Rector and came to minister to the people of the House of Nicholas and all were well pleased.

However, in the following years, there was much sadness as the House of Nicholas began to crumble even further, the roof leaked, and vandals did throw bricks through windows. Attempts were made to set fire to the Parish Halls, windows and doors were broken and the people were driven to despair and darkness as the buildings had to be destroyed.

And during this time, a new Chairman was elected – Barbara of the sweet voice who did sing in the Choir and who came from across the fields in Cheshire.

And it came to pass that the people did gather together to find a way of restoring the House of Nicholas to its former glory and many meetings took place and plans passed. Now there was in the land a Lottery Fund for good works and it was agreed that we should approach these people for help.      Many moons passed but at long last in the fifth month of the year one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine word came forth that we were to receive the money to start our restoration. There was much Joy and celebration at the good news and the despair and darkness was lifted from the people.

It was now incumbent for the people to find ways of raising money and so it was that all came forward and did buy bricks, drink coffee, eat bread and cheese, sup wine, fill smartie tubes and enjoy hot pot and apple pie amidst dancing in the barn.

In the Two thousandth year of our Lord’s birth, it came to pass that Lynne did take to herself a husband, whose name was Tony of the House of Young and who did bring to the City of Manchester modern transport. The church was bedecked with flowers and the multitudes did come from far and wide to bear witness. There were many rejoicings at the Wedding Feast and the people were glad to celebrate this joyous occasion.

And thus it was in the ninth month of the same year the restoration began and tribes of hired workers, carpenters, stonemen and the like did descend upon us.

There was great noise and disturbance as the work was carried out. During that time there was much dust and dirt and the people did rally round and sweep and dust and clean and bring rugs to keep out the cold and drafts so that the multitude could still come to worship. And it was a hard time as the congregation went about their business.

And lo, the young people of the House of Nicholas did do their part and bury a time capsule so the future generations could bear witness of what had gone before.

And so it came to pass on the morrow that the days of completion drew nigh and a beautiful building was there for all to see. And so it was on the sixth month, of the year twenty thousand and two both the High Priests and the people did gather themselves together with thanksgiving and with singing and with rejoicings.

Alas, about this time, after seven difficult years, Lynne, together with her husband Tony, did leave the House of Nicholas to travel east to Rochdale and the people were again in the wilderness.

For many months the Council of the Parish did work well and there were learned men and women who came to spread the word of the Lord whilst the people were waiting for news of a new leader.

Now, there was living in the Hamlet of Wythenshawe a man of the cloth called Paul (he also of the Noble girth) ministering to the people of the House of Michael and All Angels and he was espoused to Judith. It was decreed that, with his wife and chattels he should ‘leave his flock and travel to the House of Nicholas. And there was sadness amongst his people.

And so it was on the eleventh day of the ninth month of the year twenty thousand and three there was much rejoicing as Paul was welcomed as the tenth Rector.

And so the work of the Parish continued with Harvest Suppers, Coffee Mornings, Summer Fares and Christmas Fares and the Women’s Fellowship moved forward ably lead with a new ‘leader – Anne H.

Alas, in a very short time Paul was called to sunnier climes and he and Judith did take up their beds and ‘travel across the sea to Spain. And once again the churchwardens and the congregation were left in the wilderness.

About this time the Women’s Fellowship had some thinking to do, and at their Forum decreed that they would meet on Wednesday afternoons so that members did not have to leave the safety of their cosy homes and digital TV’s to come out in the dark.

In the year twenty thousand and eight we welcomed our eleventh Rector, Rachel Mann, who came from the Village of Stretford and who later was to become Poet in Residence at Manchester Cathedral, and so began another era

And it came to pass that the Women’s Fellowship celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in the year two thousand and nine. We remembered with affection and gratitude all those members who had gone before and gave thanks for the contribution so many had been able to give to the Parish of the House of Nicholas.

Many moons passed and the Women’s Fellowship continued with their meetings, coffee mornings and outings. Despite falling numbers the Fellowship’s spirit grew as we welcomed new members from the House of St Catherine in the hamlet of Didsbury.

And so it was that the digital age was growing and growing, causing perplexity and bewilderment as we grappled and adapted to this new technology, www.com

Alas it was during this time that thieves did climb on the roof again to steal the lead which had become valuable. And the rain did pour into the church causing much damage to the plaster work and the congregation said once again “How can this be?”

So began another era of successful fund raising to restore our beautiful building.

Despite this set back the life of the Parish went on with the staging of the Tree of War written by our Rector Rachel and Organist Olly commemorating the 1914-1918 Great War. And the Elders and the multitudes did travel great distances to witness the anniversary of this historic event. And the year was twenty thousand and fourteen.

A Community Choir had also been formed and the Rector’s Quiz Night became an annual event, and the Women’s Fellowship kept going

But more importantly, our flock grew and grew as we welcomed the people into our Church family.

And here we are in the year twenty thousand and nineteen, celebrating another anniversary and it has been a good sixty years.