President's Report 2016

At the beginning of May St. George’s Church hosted a ‘Wedding Event’. We invited anyone who was married at St. George’s to send us a photograph and we would display them, decade by decade. I don’t think anyone on the small planning group envisaged just how great the response would be. We received around 200 hundred photographs, but what was more surprising was the way the event caught people’s imagination. Over the three days hundreds of people came to look at the photographs, to examine the old marriage registers and to enjoy a slice of cake and a cup of tea in the hall. Even the media seemed enthusiastic about the idea and news of the event appeared in the local press, local radio and television. It became much bigger than we had ever expected.

What struck me most powerfully was how many people felt that St. George’s Church was part of their lives and the lives of their family. There were photographs of lots of members of the church family, but there were as many again of people from the parish who regard this as ‘their church’, and for whom this place has a unique place in their affection. People who came were as struck by photographs of friends from the community that they recognised as they were by the photographs they had submitted. It was the same with the registers. People wanted to look at who else was married on the same day or in the same month, and it brought back so many memories and not a few tears.

I think this is wonderful news for the Friends of St. George. It means that outside the family of church, those who worship here week by week, there is a much larger number of people who would be willing to support the church. The Friends of St. George is the most obvious vehicle for garnering that support and goodwill. Here are the people who will support us when we have need, here are the people who will assist in the financing of our major restoration projects, here is the next generation of the ‘Friends’. All we have to do is work out how we might make them aware of the organization, and invite them to join.

I am always conscious that the work, and indeed the membership of the Friends, rests upon the shoulders of a relatively small number of people. We are immensely indebted to you for all your continuing support and generosity. I hope and pray that the goodwill expressed by so many visitors to the ‘Wedding Event’ might be a source of encouragement to the Friends and the future prosperity of the charity.

Canon Adrian Hughes Vicar of St. George’s Church, Cullercoats