A History of WHBC (part 4)
The 1970s saw more new activities. In 1972 the Guides and Brownies closed officially after fifty years and in the autumn of that year were replaced by the Girl’s Brigade, which began with twenty-nine members and has gone from strength to strength up to the present day. Some of the young people formed a Gospel group called ‘Cum Deo’, who used to go out to various places to perform, and a Covenanter group was started after the close of the YPF, which was very popular for a number of years. Around 1977 the Men’s Contact Club closed after forty very valuable years, but at the same time house groups were formed, meeting fortnightly in the homes of members. These still provide opportunity for valuable Bible study, prayer and fellowship amongst old and young. They are called ‘Fellowship Groups’ to which anyone can belong. Alpha courses have also been held for a time, which have encouraged new people into the fellowship. At the end of the decade, in 1980 the church marked its 300 years by a trip to London to the site in Glasshouse Yard where it had originated, as well as other places from its past.
As the years have passed, the church has, of course, made use of all the modern electronic ‘aids to ministry’. There has also been a fair amount of repair, alteration and re-decoration of the premises, to keep it in line with modern needs. In recent years the church was fortunate enough to be able to employ a Youth Worker to develop our ministry amongst young people and although we no longer do so, many of our members continue to participate in ministry and mission amongst children and teenagers. In 2012 our Girls' Brigade Company celebrated their 40th anniversary and in 2014 the Boys' Brigade celebrate 90 years of work in the church.
Over all these years there has been a succession of excellent pastors, bringing their individual strengths and gifts to the church, who have all been held in very high esteem. Numbers have, in line with most churches these days, fallen since the heady days when we had a membership of over two hundred. However, although around seventy now, we are constantly welcoming new people to the services. We recently celebrated our Centenary in this place, with a variety of very successful events, attended by many of our past members. Which brings us to the present day, to a church that is still witnessing to the power of the gospel, with new members coming in and being baptised. It is great to see that the perseverance of our forefathers through such difficult times is still bearing fruit after 350 years.