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18 - Ministry in Nottingham, 1984–1991

Alan Argent
Affiliation:
Trinity Congregational Church, Brixton
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Summary

Having acquired the former Castle Gate Congregational Church and hall premises in Nottingham from the United Reformed Church (intending to use them as offices, student rooms, and for church purposes), the Congregational Federation held a service of thanksgiving in September 1981. Those arriving early were amazed to discover Elsie, as practical and unstuffy as ever, on her knees washing the floor. Elsie hoped that the new centre in Nottingham would be ‘a place where we can learn more about the faith and find new inspiration for the work that is to be done’. The formal opening of the Congregational Centre in Castle Gate occurred a year later in September 1982 when Elsie, speaking last, struck an uncharacteristically solemn note, by reminding the assembly that ‘the fulfilment of the dream depends on the reality of our faith’. In truth she had herself given generously towards the cost of setting up the centre. She became a regular visitor to the Castle Gate buildings for Congregational Federation council and committee meetings. In late 1982 she addressed the Federation of Congregational Women, in the East Midlands area there, taking the theme that ‘the Kingdom of God is within you’ and urging those present to communicate the gospel to people outside the churches.

In September 1983 the minister spoke to the deacons at North Street about the new church which was then being founded in Castle Gate, Nottingham, to which building the offices of the Congregational Federation had been moved.

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Chapter
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Elsie Chamberlain
The Independent Life of a Woman Minister
, pp. 236 - 253
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2012

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