We organised a special carol service last Saturday for the Don Valley Group of WI’s in Sheffield in collaboration with St Andrew’s UR church where we meet regularly.
A big thank you to our events team who organised the event and all the members who volunteered their time and baked for the event.
It was bitter sweet as we are leaving the Don Valley Group soon to form a new Sheffield group of WI’s – the Sharman group. More details to come!
Last Sunday we spent a lovely morning at a special service for users of St Andrew’s United Reform Church in Broomhall, where we hold our monthly meetings . We were made very welcome.
Many different Christian churches use the space for worship including Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Chinese and Congolese worshippers. They gave us a flavour of their ceremonies with song, dance and readings. Then we had a delicious lunch and were served freshly brewed Ethiopian coffee!
Although the WI is a non-religious organisation, we love being part of a centre like St Andrew’s that is very much part of the community and welcomes people from all over the world to use the venue including a playgroup, soup kitchen, breakfast club and child contact centre.
|Committee members Rachel and Sam with
Rev Kate Bottley and a giant teapot.
Photo credit: Rachel White
After finding ourselves potentially venue-less for 2016, the SHWI committee were panic stricken: ensue canvassing everyone we could think of for venue ideas, enough googling to break the internet and lots of mad ringing round. One of the umpteen options mooted was St Andrew’s URC. We didn’t want to get our hopes up but headed off for a nosey. They told us they didn’t have a room we could hire…but that we could use the actual church! January was our first meeting there, and it immediately felt like home. Giant teapots a-hoy!
As a Gogglebox fan, I was right chuffed when committee member Anna P said we’d bagged #revkate as a speaker. Turns out I’m not alone, as it was one of the busiest meetings we’d had in yonks (the busiest ever, perhaps?). With old members, new members and visiting members from other WIs, there was a lovely, lively, anticipatory feel at the start of the meeting. It seemed somehow fitting that our first speaker at the new venue would be of a religious persuasion.
|Rev Kate with SHWI members and THAT tea cosy
Photo credit: Laura Bainbridge
For those of you who don’t know, Reverend Kate Bottley is a Sheffield lass born and bred, who was a teacher at Ecclesfield (my alma mater) and then Yewlands school before going into vicaring and appearing on Channel 4’s Gogglebox. Kate’s energy was contagious and her delivery more stand-up comedy than Sunday communion. A self-confessed attention-seeker of the warmest, humblest kind, she revealed that her husband, Graham, does speak (but we suspect a lot less than Kate), that her favourite TV programmes feature zombies and that many of the tea cosies they own come from fans of the show. Well, she has one more now thanks to crafty knitter, Di Coupe. We’ll be looking out for it on the next series.
|Rev Kate’s Star Wars-themed shoes
Photo credit: Laura Bainbridge
Kate wowed us with her shoes (she’d swapped her usual slippers for R2-D2 heels), her tales of bumping into other Goggleboxers (they’re not allowed to meet under normal circumstances) and her crazy vicar antics (flash mob wedding, anyone?). There was so much #shwilove for Rev Kate and she stayed ages after the end of meeting, chatting to members and posing for photos. It was a fantastic start to the new year and new venue! Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make it a brilliant evening, not least our revered speaker, Kate.
Next up in February: salsa! Hope to see you there.
We’re very happy to say that from Janaury 2016 our meetings will be held at Saint Andrew’s United Reformed Church.
We found out only a week ago that we needed to leave Electric Works after December’s meeting and after a frantic few dozen emails to local venues, we found Saint Andrew’s.
The church itself is warm and welcoming, and we will have access to a fully functional kitchen for our tea and coffee making facilties. There is disabled access and baby change facilities. And our President will no longer have to lug all our meeting bits and bobs backwards and forewards every month – the church has storage space! Hurrah!
Overall we think we’ve found a great space and a new home for our WI.