London at War Part 8
Have you been wondering what church was like in wartime?
Our small chapel in Redmore Road wasn't a building to attract the masses! It consisted of the main hall with about eighty chairs and if we tried to get more people in, rubber walls would be very useful!! At the end of the hall was a small “vestry” with an adjoining, even smaller room and the tiniest “kitchen” I've ever seen. I have been racking what's left of my brain trying to recall any toilet facility, but I tend to think there wasn't one – which is probably why I can't remember it! There were two, very small, gas fires, one on either side of the hall. If we sat within six feet of the fire it was reasonably warm, but any further away – TOUGH! Looking up to the ceiling there were three - or was it four? - iron rafters which I will mention again later.
“What was church like?” - as far as the building was concerned you've got it, but what about THE church? As far as my memory allows we continued to hold two services every Sunday plus a midweek prayer meeting, throughout the conflict. For various reasons our numbers were extremely few: conscription, age, distance etc. Very often the prayer meeting consisted of Pastor George Mitchell and three others. Would it not have been easier to close the church and worship elsewhere? Easier – certainly, but who said being a committed follower of Jesus is supposed to be easy? Jesus Himself definitely never did. Just think as you read this – if we had closed down we would not have purchased our present building in Dalling Road in 1956; I would probably not have known the joy of serving God as a pastor, pointing many to faith in Jesus; and you would not have known the “church family” you know and love today! I have two further clear memories of Redmore Road in wartime. One Sunday morning we arrived, expecting the service to start at 11o/c and we saw that windows had been blown in by a bomb exploding in the vicinity. We all worked to clear up the shattered glass before the first hymn. As the result of another bomb I remember spending several hours one Saturday working with Pastor George patching up a hole in the ceiling. We were straddling along a plank of wood which was balanced rather precariously across the iron rafters, probably 15-18 feet above ground, pulling away loose debris then filling the hole with brown paper! No hi-vis jackets; tin hats or health and safety, but quite an adventure for a young 17year old!! How reassuring it is to know that underneath us are His EVERLASTING ARMS. (Deut. 33 v27). Thank you Jesus. ReplyForward