This page is a collection of memories about our diocese over the past 100 years. We will be collating these throughout the year. If you have a memory to share please email Anna Laycock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A multi-cultural day at St Nicolas Church, Nuneaton.
David Goodall remembers the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Coventry:
I was senior churchwarden at the time, and remember the service in the ruins because they were absolutely packed. I realised that Jenny Thurston, then head verger, was going to find it difficult to follow the normal routine of walking forward then turning right and going down the Queen’s Steps, so suggested she head straight for the main door instead. That way, people could see where she was going and make room. Which, I’m pleased to say, they did.
I also remember realising that the 5 churchwardens were completely overwhelmed, but also that this crowd needed no policing.
These photographs taken by Marie Paterson show the new Community Building that was erected in 2009 at St Nicolas, Nuneaton. The building is skillfully integrated with the adjacent Old Grammar School. The medieval church building is on the other side.
This photograph was taken on the 10th April 2005 when Bishop Colin Bennets officially opened the extension to St Andrew’s Church, Shottery. He is shaking hands with the Revd James Warren and to the right is Harry Ware, the much loved Lay Reader who is no longer with us.
The building of Warwick Gates Community Church.
In 1986, many of the churches in Leamington Spa united under my chairmanship for a week’s mission called “Out of the Blue”, led by the well known evangelist J John. The mission began with an open air procession through Leamington (see photo) with many joining in, undeterred by the pouring rain! The climax of the mission was a united Sunday evening service in the Royal Spa Centre, co-led by Bishop Simon Barrington-Ward and J John. The venue was filled to capacity, and I distinctly remember a lay person from one of the churches saying at the time, “to get this number of Christians from so many different churches together like this is amazing – I am so excited!” – The Revd Andrew Dow, Vicar of St Paul’s, Leamington, 1978-1988.
In March 1984 Bishop John Gibbs dedicated the redeveloped interior of St Paul’s Leamington Spa at a special service. The church was packed (see photo) with many people seated in the new balcony built over a new lounge area. The congregation raised over £350,000 for this project, which in those days was a considerable sum. Many of the congregation grew in their faith and confidence in God as they launched into a depth of sacrificial Christian financial giving which they had never previously explored. Initially some people were opposed to the project, not liking what they regarded as the spoiling a beautiful neo-gothic Victorian church, but on the day the congregation saw the changes for the first time, one of those “opponents” threw her arms around me, and said, “Andrew, I take back everything I said against it!” – The Revd Andrew Dow, Vicar of St Paul’s, Leamington, 1978-1988.
The Reverend Andrew Dow was the vicar of St Paul’s, Leamington from 1978 to 1987.
In 1975 Canon David Cooper Capron was ordained deacon in the Diocese of Coventry, he was ordained a priest a year later in 1976. He shares some of the memories of the people he met over his time in the diocese on this video and here.
Queen Elizabeth II at the consecration of the new Cathedral in 1962.
David Goodall writes:
I was an 11 year old schoolboy at the time, but remember standing behind the wall of Holy Trinity to see the Queen be driven past. I remember it mainly because I stood on a tomb in the grounds so I could see! It probably sums up my attitude to authority…
I also remember hearing someone talking about a 3rd cathedral, about which I knew nothing. It was many years later, around the turn of the century, when that memory resurfaced as I watched a programme about a Time Team visit to Coventry. I remember saying to my wife, “that’s what they were talking about!”
Our wonderful East Window was installed in memory of Reverend Norman Sherwood who was curate at St Peter and St John’s and later became the Bishop of Lagos in Nigeria where he sadly died at a young age. Norman was one of the priests fire-fighting at Coventry Cathedral on the night of the Blitz.
In 1937 he was appointed curate-in-charge of St. Peter’s [now St. Peter’s and St. John’s], one of the four daughter churches of St. Andrew’s Parish Church, Rugby. He was described by his former Rector as a ‘keen and enthusiastic Parish Priest’ and also worked well as part of the team of Rector and seven curates in Rugby. When the Rector left Rugby in 1940 Norman was in charge of the whole Parish during the resulting Interregnum. Parish socials were enlivened by his Pelmanism skills and by a mime he perfected of a clumsy, plump parson trying to sew on one of his jacket buttons.
He became Vicar of Radford in Coventry in 1941 and was consecrated Assistant Bishop of Lagos (Bishop in Northern Nigeria) in 1944. In 1949 he married Dr. Doreen Bottone whom he had met during his time at Rugby. He died of typhoid in Northern Nigeria at the age of 39. – The Revd Shelia Bridge, Minister in Charge of St Peter and St John’s Church, Rugby.