Centenary 4 O’clock Sevice




The four o’clock service on Sunday 6th April was the start of a week of celebrations for the centenary of St. Michaels Church.  It was a good way to start the festivities; there were many children present; Beavers, Cubs and members of the Jubilate Choir and some others who just come along to the Church with their families.  The service started with representatives from different groups associated with the church bringing forward lit candles, which Fr David and Fr Derek arranged on the floor before the Altar in the number 100.

After some enthusiastic singing by the congregation, Fr David introduced two boys from Jubilate, and Victoria and Elizabeth who were visitors in time from Abbey Wood in 1908!  Fr David proceeded to interview them all about their lives and what they liked to do and what they thought of St. Michaels. Victoria and Elizabeth told us, from beneath rather picturesque hats, that they really liked their brand new Church which they thought cozy and warm with a new heating system and modern gas lights rather than old fashioned oil lamps they had at home.  I, like most people I suspect, had never thought of the Church lit by anything but electric lights but now I wondered when the electric lights had been introduced in to the church and smiled inwardly at the number of cakes and pots of tea that must have been made to finance them! Victoria and Elizabeth also told us about their new homes in Abbey Wood, their mothers stayed at home and looked after the children.  Their fathers worked in the Woolwich Arsenal, which was the main employer in the area and made equipment for the military.  The girls also talked about the newly built school, which they attended, Alex McLeod and the fun they had playing in the woods.  They told us how they enjoyed football and supported the Arsenal Team that played in Woolwich.  They also told us about a new and very popular book that everyone was reading, Wind in the Willows.  Both Victoria and Elizabeth were excited about the forthcoming Olympic Games, which were to be held in White City Stadium in London in 1908, they thought that Britain would win many gold medals.  In fact we did, with 56 Golds we were the highest medal-scoring nation that year.

In contrast our lads from 2008 had somewhat different ideas and lifestyles.  Although they both liked St. Michaels Church they complained of the cold and the rickety heating system that is always breaking down, so do many of the adults who spend time in the Church!  They both lived in Abbey Wood and thought of the houses as old, both boys' fathers worked in London and their mothers worked outside the home as well as looking after their families.  One attended a school in Thamesmead, built about thirty years ago as the estate continued to sprawl across the marshes, but the other attended Alex McLeod School which is still as busy as ever educating local children in what are today far from modern buildings.  The boys still enjoyed football although neither supported Arsenal, which had long since left its roots in the Woolwich Arsenal and South London.  The boys also liked their computers and the Harry Potter stories but the boys talked about seeing the films at the cinema rather than reading the books!  The boys knew the Olympics were to come to Britain in the not too distant future but the enthusiasm for the games is yet to show, when asked how many medals they thought we would win at Beijing they replied “possibly one in the cycling.”

Written by Sue