Our Centenary service was held on Tuesday 14th January 2014, here is the article written by Fr Jeremy for the Parish magazine reflecting on the service.
I don’t know that the weather was like on January 14 1914. Tuesday, January 14 2014 was quite a mild day, wet at some points in the day, and windy too from time to time, but thankfully not icy. Given the time of year, the weather for our centenary dedication festival at All Saints’ could have been much worse. The church was warm, with the heating working well for us, and looked clean and welcoming, with lots of flowers and the display of memories from the past hundred years looking very attractive. Lots and lots of little jobs had been done to get ready for the celebration (actually having such a celebration is quite a good spur to help one get round to tasks that have been put off previously!)
We had a full church in the evening, with something around one hundred and fifty people there (we ran out of service sheets and it got to the point of being standing room only), including the Mayor of Salford and his Mayoress, our parish choir and the very talented Neil Bennett playing the organ, the head and deputy head from Wardley CE School, with a very smart and well-behaved group of children representing the school, and Brown Owl and other leaders with a large group of our Brownies, also very smart and well-behaved, even though they were squeezed into their row of reserved seats like the proverbial sardines in a tin, who paraded their flag during the opening and closing hymns.
We began predictably enough, with the hymn “For all the saints” and although, because I was quite near the end of the procession (and, to be honest, I had all sorts of other things on my mind at that particular point!), I could not really judge for myself but I am told the singing was really hearty and exultant as the procession made its way into church. The Bishop of Beverley presided and preached at the mass, with myself and Fr David Sutton (who comes to join Morning Prayer at our parish most weekdays) concelebrating with him. The Bishop reminded us in his sermon of our tasks as people of God, the church, who use this building, the church. Just before the end of the service, the Bishop received and blessed our new Centenary Banner which had been bought from the proceeds of the hand made cards which are sold in church (cards made by Kath & Nina) so effectively anyone who buys these cards has contributed to the banner. He also blessed the flower vases which Ken and Joan Shore had presented to All Saints’ to mark both their diamond wedding anniversary and the centenary of the church.
It was especially gratifying to see how many people responded and came in response to personal invitations to be present at the service which we had sent out. After the service over refreshments and a glass of wine, people were able to view the many photographs and the Bishop took the opportunity to speak to many people and agreed to have photographs taken with various church groups. These can be seen on our gallery page.
On the following Friday a good number of us gathered in church again for a Centenary social evening with Cliff’s Disco and a hot supper. A good time was had by all.
All in all, we counted it a very fine opening to our centenary year, a fitting act of worship, and, we hope, a springboard for mission, ministry, and church growth in the coming year. A centenary celebration for a church should be as much about looking forward to the proclamation of the gospel and the growth of Christ’s people in the coming century, as about looking back with thanksgiving for the means of grace and the fellowship of the people of God.