The Evening Fellowship is a gathering of women in the Congregation for friendship. Each month there are different activities from guest speakers, craft activities as well as the occasional film nights. It is a warm, friendly group and you are warmly invited to come along. The Evening Fellowship meets once a month at 10:30am on the third Monday of the month, at Barwon Edge, 40 Windsor Road, Newtown.
History of Wesley Evening Fellowship
Over 60 years ago (1948) the Afternoon Fellowship of the Yarra Street Methodist Church, kindly invited several of our young married women with children to join them. Our minds weren’t really with us most of the time, with crying babies and toddlers not very conductive to our enjoyment of the meeting, and I’m sure these distractions affected the old and the young.
Three of us talked about this problem (Nell Lang, Enid Snibson and Ruth Fagg) and decided that a night meeting would resolve the children question, with the fathers minding them. The group which formed from this discussion grew to about 25 members, who called ourselves “The Young Married” Several unmarried ladies asked to join, so then we called the group “The Ladies Evening Fellowship” which later became “The Wesley Evening Fellowship”
In the early days we were a young a lively group. We produced a concert every year, with scripts written for various themes, composed by Nell Lang, our first President. Many of our children took part in these, with set construction by the men.
We met fortnightly on a Monday night which was a good decision. Our Fellowship has outlasted several others who met only monthly. Our Fellowship consisted of a President (for many years called the “Chairlady”, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee members. Nell Lang was the first “Chairlady” (the title of the President came many years later)- Enid Snibson as Secretary and Ruth Fagg as Treasurer - (many of us over the years occupied the President’s position). We had a Music Convenor, Fellowship committee, Activities and special events group.
We had excellent speakers for each meeting which began with a Devotional talk given by one or others of the members, followed by our business meeting, and then the speaker. Now and again we had meetings in someone’s home.
Each year we conducted a Sunday Evening Service in the church, in which ladies took every part, including an anthem. We had, over the years, outstanding women preachers. Unfortunately, we no longer have this special service, when evening services were terminated.
One year, long ago, we produced a recipe book, which some of us still use today, although in a very tattered condition.
We donated goodly amounts of money over the years to various church, mission and local charities. In latter years, we have had a “Stall” at each meeting, featuring lots of cakes, biscuits etc. Lately we seem to concentrate on books, magazines, plants etc other than culinary delights.
In 2008, we celebrated our 60th Anniversary, with a gathering of about a hundred former members, or those representing members who are no longer living. It was a memorable night, with lively speeches by former Presidents. A cake was cut and distributed, and on a large table we had memorabilia from the past. (For instance, I have my yearly syllabuses in my possession.)
In the year in which we became “Wesley Uniting Church”, we welcomed into our Fellowship several members of the St. Giles Presbyterian Church and City Congregational church. Later still, we were joined by women from churches which had unfortunately closed down. We have been greatly enriched with these hard working, wonderful women.
Unfortunately we have never published a history of our group.
We are not no nearly so young or sprightly but still enjoy the group very much. The Afternoon Fellowship over the years felt sure we would because of age, gravitate to them. However, we have until recently (when the afternoon group closed down) had a happy association with our friends in that group.
We no longer have concerts, but opt for film nights, with supper, and goodly amounts of money raised. Money from our main events and from the stall, continue to go to Frontier Services, Geelong Hospital, Concern-Uniting Care, many local charities, disaster areas and many more.
Some of our most enjoyable nights are when our own members, perhaps three, give a short account of their lives, where we hear details of great interest, which unfortunately, we don’t hear until people’s funeral services! These special meeting are preceded by having a meal together.
Numbers of the years have fluctuated, raging, roughly, from 25 to 40. Attendances in the winter months tend to “go down”, partly because of the advancing ages of our members, which range from 90 to 45. We plan our syllabus at the end of the year, for the following year, with a great variety of speakers chosen by members. Now and again, several men attend special meetings. Our annual meeting is a “dinner event”, a kind of sugar-coating pill, as we go through election of officers, reports etc.
The format of our meetings have changed slightly. We have a brief devotion, then the speaker. We then enjoy a cup of tea or coffee which is followed by the business part. We think this way is kinder for the speaker who is able to leave earlier if desired.
Written and collated by Mrs Ruth Fagg. September 2010