Silver End Congregational Church
The Story of Twenty-one Years
Rev. A. J. Stubbs
and a concluding chapter by
Mr. C. G Loads
Rev. Arthur J. Stubbs.
Mrs. H. Cornfield, Miss O. A. Cornfield, Messrs. G. W. Richer,
G. W. Sharpe, F. W. Cook, V. F. Sadler, G. N. Butler
(Treas.), C. G. Loads (Sec.), W. Everitt (Life Deacon).
Sunday School Supt. Mr. G. W. Richer.
Primary Leader Mrs. A. J. Stubbs.
Christian Endeavour Society Sec. Mrs. G. N. Butler
Girls Life Brigade Capt. O. A. Cornfield
Sisterhood President Mrs. A. J. Stubbs, Sec. Mrs. C. G. Loads.
L.M S. Sec. Mrs. Baker. Prayer Union Sec. Mrs. C. G. Loads.
During the last twenty-five years Silver End has grown from a tiny hamlet to a most compact and modern village; today it has almost six hundred houses, and at the time of writing more are being built. Mr. Francis H. Crittall in his book " 50 Years of Work and Play" has told the story of the development of Silver End. He had a vision of a modern village for his employees, and one day in Autumn 1925 he changed his course in going from Witham to Braintree, and came across what he recognised as Silver End- a few rural cottages clustered near an old inn. It had lain there since the eleventh century when its situation was recorded in the Doomsday Book. Very little change had taken place, but it was not long before plans were being prepared for its transformation. Farm land was purchased and in 1926 building commenced. People who hailed from various parts of the country came to live in the newly built houses. There is little surprise that the Extension Committee of the Essex Congregational Union turned its attention to the growing village. On 3rd March 1929 the Secretary of the Extension Committee the Rev. O. L. Whitmee conducted a service in the Village Hall. A fortnight later the service was conducted by the Rev. G. C. Lambert, M.A., B.D. of Wallasey, Cheshire.The Committee had been advised to approach Mr. Lambert as it was known that he was a man suited for the task of starting a new Church.
As a result of his visit Mr. Lambert felt led to accept the appointment of first Minister of Silver End. His ministry commenced on 5th May 1929, so began a work of much toil, but if it was hard , there was also encouragement, for progress was made and gradually the activities increased. Men and women responded to the call for Sunday School Teachers- these were warmly welcomed by the Minister who had been running the school alone. The Silver End Development Company realising the Essex Congregational Union fully intended to build a Church offered as a gift a most suitable site.
This was gladly accepted, and a portion of land adjoining was purchased so that in time a Manse could be built near to the Church. Plans were drawn up for the building of a Church to seat 200 and a small hall to accommodate about 70, also vestries and kitchen. The Foundation Stones were laid on 29th April 1930. The Moderator of the Eastern Province- Rev. Hugh Ross Williamson presided and stones were laid by Mr. F. H. Crittall, J.P., Alderman Owen Ward, J.P., Mrs. Arthur Burns and Rev. G. C. Lambert,M.A., B.D.
On September 17th the Church was opened for worship. The cost of the buildings was £2,500 and this was met by the Essex Congregational Union. Sir Valentine Crittall, J.P. (now Lord Braintree) presided, and Lady Crittall opened the door of the Church with a golden key. The service of dedication which followed was conducted by Dr. F. W. Norwood of the City Temple. It was fitting that the Minister of the only Free Church in the City of London should be present for such an occasion, as a Lord Mayor of London (Sir Charles Batho) had opened the Village Hall in 1928.
On 21st January 1931 the Church was formally constituted with a membership of 58. After three years of devoted service which involved great labour, and had demanded much love and patience the Rev. G.C.Lambert tendered his resignation and closed his ministry on 27th March 1932. Three months later the Rev. James A. Lawson of Stambourne accepted a call to the pastorate. Mr Lawson was keenly interested in the Boys Brigade, and due to his enthusiasm and leadership there developed a strong Company. Work amongst the girls was not forgotten and the 1st Silver End Company of the Girls Life Brigade was formed. After three years Mr. Lawson suffered a breakdown in health and resigned. It must be recorded that during his ministry the Sisterhood presented to the Church a Silver Bowl for use at Baptisms.
The Rev. C. W. Wall was called to the pastorate, and commenced his ministry in October 1935. In the early days of 1936 a big scheme was placed before the Church - it was for the erection of a large hall to accommodate the Sunday School. Mr P. E. Brand of Clacton was approached, and plans were prepared for building a hall on to the existing buildings. This necessitated the removal of the rear wall, and replacing it with folding doors. Improvements were also made to the interior of the Church, and pews replaced the chairs which were required for use in the new hall. The cost of this was £1,000 and it was mainly due to the efforts of the Minister who travelled far and wide to raise money that the building was
opened by Mr J. W. Moss of Frinton on 28th September 1936 free of debt. Dr. S. M. Berry, M. A. , Secretary of the Congregational Union was the special preacher. At about the same time the present organ - (a two Manual ) was purchased. The work of the Church prospered, and a strong Christian Endeavour Society was found in its midst. The Mid-Essex C. E. Union honoured the Society and its Minister by calling Mr. Wall to the office of President of the Union in 1938. At the end of January 1939 Mr Wall accepted a call to Southampton much to the regret of many friends in Silver End.
At the time of Mr. Walls departure no one foresaw what big changes would take place in the life of the nation within the next few months. On Easter Sunday the Rev. Edgar Jones commenced his ministry at Silver End, and before he had time to get settled down, the circumstances of war wrought many changes. Black-Out, Night Work - the calling up of young men all contributed to the curtailment of the work of the Church. It was most unfortunate that these things should be, for it was a great set back, and had its effects upon the health of the Minister. At the end of 1942 Mr Jones accepted a call to Woodham Ferrers
For thirteen months the Church was without a minister, and much work fell upon the shoulders of Mr. A. H. Chapman who for most of that time held the office of Secretary as well as Church Treasurer, and Mr. G.W. Richer the senior deacon. Mention must be made of the labours of officers during these twenty-one years. At first, there were several changes due to removals from the village. Mr. G. W. Richer has been in office as Supt. of the School since the early days, and Mr. G. W. Sharpe served as Secretary for 11 years. Of the present officers - Mr. G. N. Butler has been Treasurer since 1946 and Mr. Loads took over the position as Secretary in 1948.
February 6th 1944 marked the opening of the present ministry, the Rev. Arthur J. Stubbs who had been at Welling, Kent for three years, having accepted the call to the pastorate. His Induction Service was held on March 28th, The Moderator, Rev. W. Ellis Pearson, M. A. presided and the Charges were given by the Revs. H. C. Monk and W. Andrew James M. A. The life of the Church was somewhat at a low ebb, and presented no easy task for a young man; but quickly the situation improved, congregations increased and renewed interest soon became evident. On "D. Day" 6th June 1944 our Minister conducted a Special Service of Prayer and Intercession and thereafter until the end of the war a weekly service was held each Wednesday. In August 1944 a monthly News-Letter known as "The Tidings" was published and copies distributed to every house in Silver End - this has been maintained and is a source of witness for the Church. The Royal Air Force occupied the newly constructed aerodrome at Rivenhall in October 1944. A Y.M.C.A. Canteen was opened in our Schoolroom and this was well patronised and appreciated. The work of the Girls Life Brigade and the Sisterhood were restarted during the first yearís ministry and the Christian Endeavour Society was resumed after the end of hostilities.
Progress has continued and a large sum of money has been raised and expended on essential repairs and the installation of a separate heating system for our large hall. In addition over £60 has been spent on the renovation of the organ and piano.
In September 1948 we combined with St Francis Church in a week of Visitation Evangelism and every house was visited. The results have proved that this was a worthy effort.
During the past four years we have lost two of our beloved Foundation Members, Mrs. Richer and Mrs. Tinworth, the brass flower vases and lectern on the Communion Table are our memorial to Mrs. Richer and a brass flower vase on the organ perpetuates the memory of Mrs. Tinworth.
Mention must be made of the offices to which our minister has been called during his time with us - they include the Chairmanship of the Braintree District of the Essex Congregational Union 1947/48 also the Chairmanship of the Braintree London Missionary Society Auxiliary for 1947/48. He has served on the General Committee of the Essex Congregational Union since 1947 and has been president of the Mid-Essex Christian Endeavour Union for the year 1949/50.
Two items must not be overlooked - the ladies of the Church are providing us with new curtains for the rostrum and around the organ - itís hoped they will be ready for our Anniversary.
History was made on April 22nd in the Witham Sunday School Union Eisteddfod at Maldon. Our Sunday School Choir won the "Docwra Shield" in the afternoon and in the evening the Church Choir won the "Sadd Shield". This is the first time we have won either of these shields, and we are delighted with these successes coming as they do in our year of celebration.
Programme of Coming of Age Celebrations
May 20th - 28th 1950
Saturday 6.30 p.m. Family Gathering (By Invitation).
Sunday 8 a.m. Holy Communion conducted by the Rev. A.J.Stubbs. 11 a.m. & 6.30 p.m. Services conducted by the Rev. W. Ellis Pearson, M.A., (Moderator Eastern Province).
Tuesday 7.30 p.m. Anniversary Service, preacher Rev. Herbert T. Lewis, M.A., (Marylebone Presbyterian Church).
Wednesday 7.30 p.m. Musical Festival by the Choir of London Road Congregational Church Chelmsford. Conductor Mr. Cecil T. Hart, F.R.C.O., L.R.A.M. Chairman Hedley V. Norfolk, Esq.
Thursday 7.30 p.m. The Church Entertains.
Sunday 11 a.m. & 6.30 p.m. Thanksgiving Services conducted by the Minister.
During the week members and friends will bring Birthday Gifts of 21 units of
COPPER - SILVER - NOTES
and these will be dedicated at the Evening Service on Sunday May 28th.
J.H. Clarke & Co.
High Street . . Witham
Printers of First Edition