It’s been a packed May Day weekend at St. John’s, with our arts and crafts festival ‘Celebrating Creativity’ and a Church Fête in association with the 21st Romsey (Nursling and Rownhams) Scout Group, as well as All-Age Worship with special thanksgiving for the safe and timely completion of our much-needed stonework repairs.
All over the weekend the church was open for visitors to admire (perhaps to buy!) art and craft exhibits of all kinds, as well as colourful floral displays echoing the ‘creativity’ theme, paralleled on a grand scale by the impeccable craftsmanship of our stonemason Colin Avery.
Marina Stuart, local artist and teacher and well-known to all at St. John’s and St. Boniface, organised the exhibition to showcase the many talents of local people, both within the church and from outside, displayed in paint, needlework, photography and wood-turning. In addition, sales from the exhibition will have raised substantial sums for the church!
Sunday morning’s service featured a heartfelt thank-you from the church to its generous donors, among them Viridor Credits Environmental Company, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust, and the All Churches Trust.
Our vicar Julian Williams, who himself raised several thousands of pounds with a sponsored bike ride around Corsica, said ‘We as a church are most grateful to all the people and organisations who have donated almost £30,000 to allow us to repair the stonework damaged by weather, and allow everyone to use the church and its grounds in safety. As well as the larger funds and trusts, we want to thank all the individual donors, both within our church family and from the wider community’.
The service, which in addition to young musicians from the church featured Christian dance group ‘Movement in Worship’, was attended by Cllr. Roy Perry (representing Viridor Credits and Hampshire CC). Afterwards at coffee time Cllr. Perry cut a beautiful celebration cake from The Cupcake Angel, decorated with a picture of the church surrounded by mason’s tools and pieces of ‘stone’. This was rapidly and appreciatively devoured by young and old alike.
Then on a blessedly sunny Bank Holiday Monday, hundreds of happy people thronged the church grounds and the Glebe for traditional stalls and entertainments, eating burgers from the Scout barbecue and cupcakes which were themselves works of art, and joining in enthusiastically with games and the puppet show. The ever-popular puppets, operated by young people from the church, performed to a capacity crowd– two songs celebrating God’s love and His Creation, as well as versions of the Lost Sheep and the Good Samaritan! Traditional maypole dancing by the Jane McKinnon School of Dance was not to be missed.
Many people worked long and hard to ensure the success of this weekend – fund raisers, artists in many media, flower arrangers, cake makers, dancers, musicians, vicars, face-painters, stallholders, Scouts, puppeteers, and organisers of all kinds of events; tea and coffee makers, washer-uppers, pew movers, vacuum cleaner operators – just about everyone had a role to play. Thank you very much to everyone, we couldn’t have done it without you!