On Sunday 29 July, a large congregation of some 70 people gathered at Ray Lodge URC for their final service before amalgamation with Woodford Green URC.
They included previous ministers as well as others who had preached at Ray Lodge over the years, and those representing churches in the area.
In all there were eight ministers present, including June Colley who led the worship and Ulrike Bell, the current Forest Group minister, who gave the blessing!
The organ was played by Grace Morten who had been married at the congregational church on Snakes Lane, and other music was provided by Margaret Lineker who has been playing the piano for services at Ray Lodge for many years.
Cynthia Hodges was pleased to welcome back Janet Jackson, the previous church secretary, who had travelled from Shropshire to be with us. And there were representatives from the Seventh Day Adventist Church who will continue to meet at Ray Lodge for their Sabbath services.
In her address to the congregation, June pointed out that the current building was the third to be used for worship. The first was a little chapel in Ray Lodge Road, before the big congregational church was built at the end of the 19th century on the corner of Snakes Lane.
That church in turn was superceded by the current smaller church attached to the church hall. All of these changes were very well illustrated by the exhibition of photographs put together by Margaret Woolmer in the church hall, where a splendid tea had been prepared by Cynthia Hodges.
Although it was a sad occasion for those who had worshipped at Ray Lodge for very many years, those present made it a time of celebration of witness and service in the locality.
The building will remain in use, and a new congregation originating from Zimbabwe will worship there on a Sunday morning.
Midweek meetings of Rainbows, Brownies, Yoga classes and Karate, Trefoil Guild and the Wine and Beer circle, will continue to take place in the building, and the Neighbours’ Club will continue to meet every Friday afternoon.