St. Olave’s has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I attended Sunday school here, I sang in the junior choir and met here for Brownies and Girl Guides. I was confirmed here, and even when my attendance became less regular, I still came out for the bazaars and rummage sales or other ACW events my Mum told me about. Even in my teenage years I don’t think I ever missed a candlelight service. I got married here and all my children were baptized here. When the twins were little and started referring to the pageant as “The Baby Jesus Show” I decided that it was high time for them to start going to Sunday school. It never occurred to me to take them anywhere besides St. Olave’s.
There were certainly churches that were closer, but I liked the idea of them going to the same church that I had…a church where I was comfortable. In those days there were several Junior Church classes (split by age) and I was more than happy to help in the Nursery and with teaching. Now all my kids have gone to Junior Church and performed in the pageants and been confirmed here.
The BCP service provides continuity and a sense of tradition which I value, yet I’m also pleased to see the way the church has evolved in the 50+ years I’ve attended. I have always been drawn to the sense of community our church offers and appreciate its inclusivity. Our tireless volunteer parishioners are constantly looking for areas in which to improve the services offered to the community. These improvements can be seen in everything from increased accessibility to the standard of musical offerings. Since John took the reins as Musical Director, the choral performances have reached a whole new level. My husband, who grew up singing with choirs that toured Europe, considers him to be among the best choir-masters he has worked with. High praise from a Hungarian!
The bottom line is that St. Olave’s has always been around when we needed it and I never questioned that it always would be. Until I served as Warden, I hadn’t really thought much about it. As a Warden, I came to realize just how many volunteer hours go into making St. Olave’s the church it is. I also realized that in many ways, the church needed to be run like a business if it wanted to survive. The aim might not be to “turn a profit,” but, at the very least, expenses needed to be kept in line with income. In recent years, there has been a greater effort to keep all parishioners informed of where the church stands financially, which in turn increases givings. If I learned nothing else as Warden, it’s that we CAN’T take our church for granted. I want to make sure St. Olave’s will still be around for my grandchildren to be baptized.