GOING to church every Sunday morning might seem an outdated concept nowadays, and yet many people find themselves drawn back to worship at important milestones in their life.
St Anne’s Church on Newcastle Avenue, Worksop, has stood proud as a symbol of Christianity for 100 years.
And while congregation numbers are nothing like what they were in 1912, it remains significant in many local people’s lives.
Rev Simon Cash, who has been the parish vicar for eight years, said: “A lot of people have their own special memories of St Anne’s. They might have been christened or married here, or been to a funeral here. It is important to them for different reasons.”
St Anne’s is not just used for ‘hatching, matching and despatching’ though, it continues to thrive with a regular Sunday congregation of around 120 people.
Simon is also keen to point out that the church is not just about the building, but about the people.
He said: “Our mission statement at St Anne’s is to encourage people to become disciples, we are seeking to introduce people to Jesus. Making disciples is my vision for the church.”
A large part of this work involves engaging with the wider community by running regular nurture courses and an annual Alpha Course, for people who want to explore the Christian faith.
Simon, who is the eighth vicar of St Anne’s, said: “These courses have been successful in getting a number of people to think seriously about the Christian faith.”
“Under our aim of discipleship, some of them have gone on to join the network of groups which meet regularly in people’s homes to pray and study the word of God in scripture.”
Another new initiative is the informal worship service which takes place on the second Sunday of every month, which has featured contemporary music and worship through jazz.
There is also a renewed group of bell ringers.
St Anne’s was built as a gift of Sir John Robinson, of Worksop Manor, and its consecration service on 24th November 1912, attended by the Bishop of Southwell Sir Edwyn Hoskins, was reported in that week’s Worksop Guardian.
St Anne’s had originally been an off-shoot of the Priory Church and began life in a mission hut on Castle Hill, a densely populated area in the early 1900s.
The first vicar was the Rev Hamish Gray and there were 700 children enrolled in its Sunday school.
St Anne’s current parish has grown over the years as homes have grown up around it, and there are now 6,500 people living within its boundaries.
There have been several celebrations already this year to celebrate the centenary, including a 1940s dance attended by the Bishop of Sherwood, the Rt Rev Tony Porter. It was part of a ‘seed scattering’ weekend to encourage people to become involved.
On 24th November there will be a centenary service in St Anne’s at 6.30pm, when the Bishop of Sherwood will be the guest speaker.
It costs £80,000 a year to keep St Anne’s running, and falling congregations have taken their toll.
But Simon said that although the Church of England was facing challenging times, St Anne’s doors were open to everyone.
“The church still has relevance, even in the 21st Century, and we’re trying to keep everybody together,” he said.