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St. Faith’s Church Gaywood Celebrates 50 years of Anglican and Methodist Sharing

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The congregation of a West Norfolk church was celebrating at the weekend the fiftieth anniversary of a sharing arrangement which has seen Anglicans and Methodists worshipping in the same building for the last fifty years.

It was in 1974 that St. Faith’s Church, Gaywood, King’s Lynn began to be used in this way, following the entering into a Sharing Agreement between the Anglicans and Methodists. The then Rector, Rev Gerald Phizackerley had invited the Methodists of Gaywood Methodist Church to consider meeting for worship in the parish church rather than build a new church elsewhere in Gaywood. Master-minded by Rev Wilfred White, Methodist Superintendent Minister of the King’s Lynn Circuit and with the help of local leading Methodists Leonard Barrett and Vernon Price Jones, the plan went ahead culminating in the opening of the first phase of the Gaywood Church Rooms and the beginning of the sharing of St. Faith’s Church by both congregations fifty years ago this year.

Saturday 23rd February 1974 saw the Methodist Minister, the Rev Tony Windsor, lock the door of the old chapel and along with the then Chair of the East Anglia Methodist District, the Rev Geoffrey Thackray Eddy, lead the Methodist congregation across the road to the opening ceremony of the new Gaywood Church Rooms and along with Rt. Rev Maurice Wood, then Bishop of Norwich, to a service in St. Faith’s Church. The following day, at 11 o’clock on Sunday 24th February 1974, the first Methodist service in St. Faith’s Church was held.

These were the beginnings of what is now a very active Anglican/Methodist Local Ecumenical Partnership, which was formed in 1995.

So on Sunday 16th June 2024 a special 50th Anniversary Service was held when the Bishop of Norwich, Rt. Rev. Graham Usher and the Chair of the East Anglia Methodist District, Rev Julian Pursehouse, addressed a full church which included the Borough Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Paul Bland and Mrs Marion Bland, local Councillors and thirteen former members of the Anglican clergy and Methodist ministers and their partners who had served at St. Faith’s since 1974. The service was followed by a communal lunch served in the Gaywood Church Rooms when an anniversary cake was cut by Mrs Elaine Price Jones, the widow of Vernon Price Jones previously mentioned and now the most senior member and Mr Mark Lee, the most recent member of St. Faith’s Church.

Thank you to David Greening from St Faith’s Church Gaywood for writing this article

Photo courtesy of Mike Tidd