Friday, 25 June 2021

Celebrating 200 years of worship

AN outdoor service to mark the 200th anniversary of Stoke Row Independent Chapel was attended by scores of villagers.

AN outdoor service to mark the 200th anniversary of Stoke Row Independent Chapel was attended by scores of villagers.

They sat in a marquee in the chapel grounds and sang hymns with accompaniment from the Reading Central Salvation Army Band.

The programme included All Things Bright and Beautiful, The Lord?s My Shepherd, How Great Thou Art and finished with Thine Be The Glory.

Several songs were led by the chapel choir while others were performed by children from Stoke Row Primary School.

Keith and Val Jefferies sang a duet of Make Me A Channel Of Thy Peace.

Rev David and Rev Sonya Jackson, the chapel?s joint ministers, gave readings and led prayers, as did Rev Kevin Davies, the minister for Henley deanery. The service was followed by a village picnic and a celebration cake was cut by 95-year-old Ken Jago, who is the oldest member of the congregation and has been attending the chapel for more than 20 years.

Natalie Bowman, four, and her three-year-old brother Alex, won a children?s competition for paintings inspired by hymns. They were presented with W H Smith gift vouchers.

The chapel itself was decorated with floral arrangements made by residents and primary school pupils. The children also made paper flowers which were put up in the grounds. Rev David Jackson said: ?It was a joyous occasion for the village and we were delighted with how many people turned up. We are considering retiring soon so we were glad to be there for this landmark anniversary.?

The chapel in Newlands Lane was built in 1851 by a group of English Dissenters, a denomination that separated from the Church of England. Previously they had met at a nearby farmhouse.

It now has about 80 members and runs a monthly social group as well as visiting villagers who are sick or housebound.

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