1986-2005: George Day - taking the story forward
1987 saw the introduction of a Thanksgiving and Blessing Service for
children as a first step for those asking about baptism. It certainly hasnít
solved the problem of parents who ask for their child to be baptised but who
have little grasp of what Christian faith is about. However, it has proved
helpful for a number of people in different ways, and for the children of church
members it is lovely to be able to have a Thanksgiving the very first Sunday the
new baby is brought to church, sometimes when only a few days old.
1988 the physical appearance of the church changed quite abruptly -
the original spire had become badly corroded and needed to be replaced.
Unfortunately the architects made many mistakes, and the first attempt at
fitting the new spire was a total failure because the mountings on the spire did
not match up with the mountings on the roof. Eventually this was corrected, and
the spire was erected late in 1990.
The outstanding event of 1989 was the "Who Cares?" mission led by
Daniel Cozens, returning to the parish some 15 years after his time as curate
here. Although only short, just 4 days, the mission made a major impact. There
was a great deal of contact with people outside the church, and some were converted.
However, the greatest impact was within the church, with many
people finding their faith revitalised or deep hurts healed. There was a huge
boost to the homegroups, with the numbers attending rising to about 80, and this
proved to be a long-lasting effect.
One thing that resulted from the mission was that the Music Group
started taking a much more prominent part, no longer leading the music in
morning services from the gallery at the back, but leading from the front of the
church. This, together with growth in confidence and ability, and better
amplification, has meant an increasingly capable and strong lead for the music
side of the worship, with the great joy that the group is equally at home with
classical hymns and with modern worship songs.
In June 1989 an extremely important event took place - the first
meeting of what was to become Churches Together in the Crays. Most of
the local churches are involved, and warm links have been established between
the churches and also between many
individual members. There has been a growing sense of
partnership in the Gospel, and this is undoubtedly one of the most significant
developments of recent years.
Another major development has been in the area of women's
ministry. In May 1995, Jane Rawling was ordained priest
and presided at Holy Communion for the first time in June, and in 1996 Serena
Willoughby became the first married woman member of staff. When she was ordained
priest a year later she became the first full-time woman priest on the staff.
Serena and her husband, John, both made a very important contribution over the
next three years, particularly in the work with young people.
In June 1999, St Barnabas was involved with other churches in
the Crays and in Petts Wood in Walk Kent. We were assisted by a tremendous team
of men, and working with them was a great privilege, but it has to be said that
the results were very limited. However, it did continue to foster the sense of
the local churches working together.
During the summer of 1999, a bid by Bromley and Bexley Boroughs for Single
Regeneration Budget money was accepted, which made large amounts of
money available for development and regeneration in the Cray Valley area.
To work with this, a Community Forum was set up to cover the Crays and Ramsden,
with a very high representation from the local
churches on this Forum. Not all the results were as great as had been hoped, but
one very significant advance for the local community was the start of The
Centre in Cotmandene Crescent, and most of the local churches have had a
very strong involvement with this.
In 2001 for the first time a Christmas pageant was held, with a
nativity procession, including a donkey, from the church down to Cotmandene
Crescent, where the outside of one of the shops had been artistically converted
into the stable. Carol singing followed. This has been repeated each year since
then, although sadly the donkey was no longer available in 2004!
In 2002 a Fun Day was held in the church and the church grounds in
celebration of the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and in conjunction with various other
groups. Another similar very successful Fun Day was held in 2004 in association
with the celebrations in Rochester Diocese of the 1400th anniversary.
During summer 2003 the
area at the back of the church hall was completely revamped, providing a wheelchair accessible toilet and refurbished men's and women's
toilets. In a second stage in summer 2004 extra storage space was created,
partly for the Pre-school, but also for the various other groups that use the hall and
need various amounts of equipment. This has made a
huge difference particularly for the pre-school staff, and has meant the clutter
has now gone from the corridors. In summer 2005, the hall and lounge windows
were replaced - just think, no more painting of metal windows at church
In June 2005, George Day left St Barnabas after 19 years, to be vicar of
St Barnabas, Joydens Wood. After a vacancy of one year, in June 2006, St
Barnabas was pleased to welcome its first woman incumbent, Alyson Davie.
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