A Young Local Preacher Recalls 1 by Arthur Harvey

Home » News » A Young Local Preacher Recalls 1
Preacher-Cartoon

Whenever I visit a Methodist church I recall how, as a 16 yr old evacuee from Birmingham, during the Second World War, I was cared for by an elderly couple in Ashby — de — la — Zouche, Leicestershire.

The husband was a signalman and worked long shifts. One of his sons, Herbert, a postman still lived at home which was a railway cottage next to the level crossing.

They were all staunch and faithful Primitive Methodists. I was a Baptist but they welcomed me warmly into their home. Herbert was a local preacher, serving on the Methodist circuit. I would accompany him to local village chapels. We would go on our bikes or walk. Sometimes he asked me to read the lesson, once he asked me to preach. On the way home he gently told me how to improve but he also said I had preached for 21 minutes which, he said, was 'just right!'.

When he was called up, even although I was a Baptist, I was asked to take on his preaching appointments not as an accredited Methodist preacher but as a 'Helper'.

The first of Herbert's appointments took me to the mining village of Netherseal. The chapel was small but the congregation was faithful. Their organist was called Edith. She rarely smiled, wore dark clothes and a broad brimmed hat. She played the harmonium with a row of 'stops' above the key board. It was pumped by the player's feet and a knee-operated swell pedal increased the sound.

No one warned me about Edith. I announced the first hymn and she piped up ' I canna play that one! Its got four sharps, pick another!'

The next time I went, I made very sure that Edith could play what I had chosen. All went well until the final hymn. After I had announced it she piped up yet again ' we dunna know that one, pick another!'

Believe it or not, for the third time I was invited to Netherseal. I was ready for Edith this time!
But no Edith turned up. She had a bad cold. Who would play the harmonium?

No one volunteered so I played, as well as preaching and leading the Service. All went well but there was still no room for self satisfaction, Oh no!

I went to the door to shake hands with the folk as they left. So there was no escape from the frank comment of one dear old boy: ' Thee be a better organist than thee be a preacher, m'lad! '

Later in life I resolved to serve the Lord as an organist, not as a preacher. And so it was that I played the organ in a church in Basingstoke for some 27 years.

Arthur Harvey Recalls edited by Helen Jesty

popular recent storiesAlso in the news

Alton Webteam: Fri 13 Jul 9:28pm

The Annual August Alzheimer's Afternoon will take place on 24th August at All Saints Church, starting with the Forget-Me- Not service at 2.30pm to remember and support families with dementia. The service will be led by Rev. Rachel Sturt & Debbie Thrower, our Anna Chaplains for Older People' From 3.15pm approx. in the Church Hall for a...

Young Venturers May 18
Alton Webteam: Thu 12 Jul 9:45pm

All the Young Ventures groups have now completed their expeditions and were fortunate to have good weather for them. It was perhaps too good for the group of 12 year olds that went out on 30th June in temperatures not far off 30C! For the two Yr.7 groups these were their first unaccompanied expeditions meeting supervisors at several points along the way. They've all survived (well done!)...

BB Band at St. L. Fete
Alton Webteam: Sat 07 Jul 8:17pm

The BB boys braved the sweltering heat on Saturday 7th July to entertain the public at the fĂȘte and to help make people aware of the Brigade. Well done boys — and...