Romford church marks 350th birthday with flower festival and party

�A Romford church celebrated its 350th anniversary over the weekend with a special festival and service.

The United Reformed Church celebrated the milestone with a social evening on Saturday and a flower festival open afternoon, and a service of celebration on Sunday.

Line dancing

Graham Davies from the church said: “Saturday was wet and miserable, but the event was well attended and there was something to interest most people.

“There were exhibitions of all the activities that happen in the church, both church groups and outside groups that use our halls.

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“There was also a large exhibition about the history of the church, with some photos of the old South Street church and the Carlisle institute that was part of the church and an important social centre for Romford in its time.

“Outside was a bouncy castle, a barbecue and six-piece swing band on the lawn, but the weather rather put a dampener on these.”

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It also included displays by groups including line dancing, tai chi and badminton, with the chance for people to join in and have a go. The exhibition showed the church’s history and how it was formed. In 1662 a group of ministers refused to consent to everything in the Book of Common Prayer and were told to leave their churches. William Blackmore, who was a minister in Cornhill, had family in Havering, and went to live in Hare Street, which is now Gidea Park. He created a small house group until 1689, when buildings could be used for public worship.

The United Reformed Church was formed from a chapel in North Street which moved in 1877, then later became South Street Congregational Church. It moved again in 1965 to its current building in Western Road and became the United Reformed Church in 1972.

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