Places and experiences mean different things to different people and one of the best things about celebrating our history is finding out those "little stories" that you wouldn't know about if you weren't there. Our past often informs our present and it's been amazing to hear some of the experiences over the past 80 years. Of course, there will be hundreds and thousands of memories from different people over the years, but here are some!
Mike and Gill
Our first contact with St Barnabas was a sad one. My mother died in 1995 and Crispin Pemberton (the vicar at the time) agreed to conduct her funeral and thereafter, we decided to worship at St Barnabas and were warmly welcomed into the congregation.
At the time, the church was a little "worse for wear" after a fire in the vestry had discoloured most of the church and it was not long before we were caught up in the ongoing fundraising for the restoration. From then on this seemed to take over my life for the next few years because somehow, and I am not sure how, I found myself a Church Warden along with my mentor and guide, Gerald Dee.
The congregation were quite fantastic, having already raised money for a new organ, heating system, toilet and kitchen, they set to work on another bout of fundraising an in all raised £150,000, which together with insurance for the fire damage and grants from various other organisation paid for the restoration. This is my second abiding memory of St Barnabas, the generosity and hard work that the congregation were willing to give to the church as part of the stewardship of the House of God.
Thirdly, we have always enjoyed the music in the church with its wonderful acoustics. The sound of the Churchdown Male Voice Choir and the combined sound of the Crypt choirs backed by the organ, piano, brass band and orchestra brings tears to the eyes.
Margaret and Tony
I went to St Barnabas when I was younger and married my first husband there in 1968, who sadly passed away. I later met Tony and we were married in Hucclecote Methodist Church in 1989.
I came back to St Barnabas when our youngest grandson was baptised. The vicar at the time (Helen Sammon) asked whether the church could use him as baby Jesus in the nativity at Robinswood! Our oldest grandchild was Mary, the middle was the angel Gabriel and baby Owen was Jesus. We went to a barn on the hill and it was absolutely beautiful and an amazing nativity service. The service was so magical and people were so warm and welcoming that I decided to come back to St Barnabas.
I've always had my faith but hadn't had a strong enough draw to attend church regularly. When I went back to St Barnabas I joined the music group, went to church more regularly and was Confirmed the following May!
A full recollection of Pat's memories can be found on the "Our Roots" page.
I was born on St Barnabas day and baptised in August 1939 in the Lambert Hall, where I also used to attend Sunday School once the church had been built. Miss Muriel Arnold was the Superintendent. From the age of 7 to 11, I attended the group called the King's Messengers. We met every Friday evening in the vestry under the eagle eye of Miss Arnold, followed by Mrs Violet Blackford. We used to embroider tray cloths, table cloths and peg bags to provide a stall at the Autumn Missionary Sale.
I was prepared for confirmation at the age of 15 years by the Curate, Harry Clarke, a very popular and cheery fellow with a northern accent. He held classes in the vestry every Friday evening.
For several years, the Young Wive's Group performed a Nativity play, which lasted for about 1.5 hours. All the members took part with the addition of their offspring for angels and pages. The first year, my mother was a King and I had to carry a gold casket. A great deal of effort was put into acquisition of authentic looking costumes. The story was told by using passages from the Bible interspersed by the Wive's Choir singing a wide variety of carols appropriate to the scene being portrayed. I was relieved to graduate to the Choir after having been a page for a couple of times! Marjorie Williams was the producer.
I was married at St Barnabas on April 15th 1966. Fiona, my elder daughter was baptised at Easter 1968 and married here on 20th August 1994. Alison, my younger daughter was married here on 8th August 1997. My then teenage daughters gave a number of concerts over the years to raise money for the church. Fiona plays the oboe and Alison, the flute. In April 2009, Fiona and her wind quintet gave a concert in memory of my parents and raised money for a new electronic grand piano for the Church.
A full recollection of Colin's memories can be found on the "Our Roots" page
My parents occupied the same house on Stroud Road from 1952 until 2017. Through my mother's involvement in many church organisations, including Young Wives Group, Mother's Union, PCC an Diocesan Synod, I was aware of a lot of the events in parish life throughout my childhood and teenage years of the 1950s and 1960s. I myself was a member of the kindergarten and junior Sunday Schools, a chorister from age 7 to 13, a server from 13-30, a Sunday School teacher, and a Wolf Cub.
I have many memories of Church organizations and events, also the people involved. I think it is true to say that the Church was the centre of my social life throughout my childhood and teen years. I recall Church summer fetes at The Sheephouse in Tuffley Ave., Harvest Festivals ad Suppers, the Produce & Handicraft Shows, drama productions by the St. Barnabas Players. And the jumble sales (for Young Wives, MU, Scouts, etc) which were so huge they filled the two halls and the kitchen in between, with crowds waiting outside which rivalled the Oxford St January Sales.
I was baptised at St Barnabas in March 1949, I was confirmed there in February 1962. I was married there in August 1971, and both of my children were baptised there. I think I have one photo near the stone font at the back of church. My daughter was also confirmed at St Barnabas in 1992, I think. My parents were married at the church in 1945, by the Rev’d Lambert, and my mother was confirmed there.
I went to Sunday school which was run by John and Mary price, and subsequently was a junior class Sunday school teacher. I was also a member of a church youth group, called The Lot, because we were referred to ‘as that young lot’ by older members of the congregation.
We used to meet on a Sunday evening, after evensong, in the small hall, which we were allowed to decorate to brighten it up. Our leader was the curate at the time, the Rev’d Roy King, who, when he left to take up a position in Swanage, promised he would come back to marry any of us. This was no mean feat, as he rode a moped, and it was a long trip to officiate at several of the group’s weddings, including mine.
The only time I did not worship regularly at St. Barnabas, was when I was away at teacher training college, although I still attended when I was home in the holidays, until my parents moved to Hucclecote, and I went there for a short while. I also sang with my daughter in the church choir for a while in the early 1990’s.
I was taught by Peggy Whitfield, who was a long term member of the congregation, and who has recently died, and also Joe Green, who died a few years ago. I have been part of the Family Praise team for around 10 years, and help with teas, and cleaning, singing in the music group, and I am part of a home group.
Do you have any memories of the church? We'd love to hear them so please do comment below!