St. Wilfrid's Church, Alford
Our ChurchSt. Wilfrid's Church celebrated its 650 year anniversary in the year 2000. There are some original features amongst which are a 14th Century screen, a fine Jacobean pulpit, traces of 16th Century glass and a 17th Century tomb in the chancel.
The church was restored in the 1860s when a second north aisle, vestry and organ chamber were added and the tower was raised and decorated with pinnacles. The tower houses six ringing bells, frequently rung by a dedicated team of bell ringers. There is also an ancient sanctus bell.
Over the south porch is the Parvis Room, used as the first grammar school in Elizabethan times. One of its pupils was possibly John Smith. Saved from death by Pocahontas, he became Virginia's first governor. In 2007 the town celebrated his centenary.
A church guide book, published about 1998, is still available.
Recent additions to the church include over 200 embroidered kneelers, many dedicated to family members, and often with designs representing some of the town's clubs and organisations.
Sung Eucharist on Sundays and said Eucharist on Thursdays are an integral part of worship.
The Sunday Bunch, for all ages from pre-school to teens, meets on Sunday mornings in term time and the town's Boys' and Girls' Brigades form a very important part of our church family.
Our monthly family services are attended by many Brigade youngsters and their families as well as by those on the fringe of the church and some of our regular Eucharist congregation, who enjoy the different style of worship. These services are planned on a monthly basis, by a group drawn from the area as a whole and they continue to be very popular. We consider them to be a very important part of church life.
There is a small Mothers' Union branch based at St. Wilfrid's which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007. They were largely responsible for furnishing the St Lawrence Chapel during the 1930s & 40s. Other groups include a small informal Prayer Circle, House Groups, and usually two or three Lent Groups following different courses and led by members of the congregation.
PCC members are involved with several committees and groups. The pastoral visiting team, formed six years ago, has a group of eight or so lay visitors. The spiritual development group considers and arranges Lent courses, our annual pilgrimages to Walsingham, weekends to Scargill House, N. Yorkshire, occasional quiet days etc.
The flourishing social team arranges many events throughout the year. These have ranged from special lunches to barbecues, rambles, the annual flower festival and staging various drama and musical evenings with the aid of grants from the area Arts Council.
St Wilfrid's has a regular organist, a very small but talented choir, and a team of bellringers. We use Hymns Ancient and Modern, New Standard and Hymns Old and New. The Family Service usually incorporates modern hymns and choruses.
In 2005, we were an outpost for the "Just 10 Mission to Lincolnshire" followed by an Alpha Course in the autumn.
We had a very successful Stewardship Campaign in 1998 followed by a renewal in 2003. We are able to fulfil our charity giving commitments as well as paying our full parish share.
One task undertaken recently as the result of a generous bequest has been the installation of new lighting to support the modern sound and loop system.
The hall, situated to the north of the church is used regularly not only by church members but also by many independent organisations in the town. It has been modernised with the aid of lottery grants. The Bishop of Lincoln attended a dinner to celebrate its centenary in September 2006.
We have ecumenical links with other churches in the town (Methodist, Independent Congregational and Alford Christian Fellowship) with our Plough Sunday, Civic Service, Brigade Services, Women's World Day of Prayer and Remembrance Day Services. Relationships between the churches are friendly, and we hope that contact with these other churches can be maintained and perhaps extended.
We keep St. Wilfrid's open during the day, something that has been remarked upon favourably in the Visitors' Book. A prayer request book is available near the entrance.
We are very proud of our church and we are very pleased to welcome visitors and new members into it at any time.
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