St Cuthbert’s, Marley Hill & All Saints, Lobley Hill

The Hillside Timeline Event

The Hillside Timeline Event took place on the evening of 8 May 2019 with a follow up after church on the following Sunday. About 50 individuals contributed, about 10 of whom no longer regularly attend the church. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the Hillside Timeline!

At both churches and then at Hillside, many memories of celebration were personal celebrations (5 Weddings; 7 Baptisms; 6 Confirmations; 1 Dedication) Personal moments of sadness include leaving the church and the sad loss of a friend or relative. There is mention of there being ‘no support when I needed help’, ‘lack of support during a personal serious illness’ and ‘having to leave the band for personal circumstances’.

The earliest entry for St Cuthbert’s was a moment of joy spent ‘drinking with the vicar’ in 1970! Signs of hope were the introduction of playgroups in 1982, the Alpha Course, answered prayer and the refurbishment of St Cuthbert’s in 2003. Mention was made of the warm welcome. The only recollected sadness was the vicar leaving in 1999.

The first recorded memory of celebration at All Saints was a marriage in 1971. There were many memories of joy in the early 1980s when Bob Hopper became vicar and brought ‘new life into this church/DRY BONES’ – ‘ a happy church with dancing in church being the norm’. Christmas celebrations, the Christingle in 1988 and the Women’s Breakfasts in 1988 were highlights. Individuals remembered with joy the spiritual dance group, completion of insulating the church roof and the prayer meetings on Saturday mornings in 1990. The JIM campaign in 1993 had a massive banner on the bridge over Lobley Hill Road – the bridge itself is no longer there now! As for hope, there was reference to the ministry of Llewellyn Cumings in 1970 and Anne Black and Peter Ward in 1990. Hope was found in answered prayer for healing and forgiveness around broken relationships.

The late 1990s had the most blue notes (sadness) of all, as many remembered the difficult split in the church, which caused heartache and stress – one person described it as a ‘mass exodus’ and another described coming back from university to find that half the youth group had gone to different churches. At the start of the 2000s, SuperSunday was launched, bringing new hope and one person celebrated being children’s work co-ordinator at that time.

As the two parishes came together in 2003, there was celebration around the refurbishment of St Cuthbert’s. Individuals remember with joy IXth Hour at City Hall, NE1, Spring Harvest, Alpha, Café Church at Marley hill, the start of Hungry Youth Group and puppets. One person records how in 2009, there were over 30 children in the Toddler Group from all the community and it was bursting at the seams – such hope!

Looking at the last five years, there are 12 pink notes (celebration), 20 blue notes (sadness) and 28 green notes (hope). There are moments of unresolved conflict and disagreement remembered and a sadness around Bob Hopper leaving. However, for some, there was a new sense of hope when the new vicar, Glen MacKnight arrived. 

At the end of the Hillside Timeline, members of the church point to the following as signs of hope: new youth group, community choir, pre school Sunday School, coffee morning, PMC, Toddler Group and Open the Book. And on a personal level: conflicts resolved, leading someone to Christ, young folk on fire for God!

In the feedback, some people were surprised at how much there is to celebrate and how rites of passage were high points. There was importance placed on children’s work, youth work and a warm welcome. People found it helpful to see what others had perceived as moments of hope. And how hope follows sadness.