Due to some problems we have had for awhile with regards to the deterioration of our building, last summer it was decided that we could not continue meeting at our church in Sketty. The search for a new venue for Sabbath services was made. After some negotiations with the community centre association, we were able to hire the local Holy Trinity church on a short term basis for worship as well as doing some evangelistic outreach in the area. As we never had a chance to have the special leaving service, the decision was to hold a day of celebration which would involve everyone who has a connection with the church from the past until the present.
It has been a while since the building was used last. The wall cracks appear to be getting worse and other problems with the maintenance continue. Health and safety issues became paramount at this stage. The utility supplies except for the water were discontinued. Unfortunately a special service remained outstanding and it was agreed by the church board that a date be set for reflection and also to finally say goodbye to our old dear Swansea church.
It was indeed a very beautiful day of gathering for members and friends of the church during this Sunday morning. Many people turned up despite the cold autumn day, organizers were able to hire the necessary equipment for the occasion. Irving Saunders managed to hire a generator for power and gas heaters. Jackie Jones and Irving Saunders liaised with the members to provide some light refreshments following the service. Eifion Paul (with the help of his father Asu Paul a keen photographer) worked hard organizing all the pictures from the past.
Our Afterglow musicians Chris Kidwell, Eiddon Paul and Duane Saunders started the service with some lively congregational singing. Danielle Rees said the opening prayer. Welsh Mission president John Surridge and our Church pastor in the previous years outlined the spiritual history. Erica Cameron shared a ‘Family Portrait’ the Rees family as one of the pioneers of the church. Mary Paul read the memories of Pastor Vine and his family during their time of ministry in Swansea.
Steven Marshall played a beautiful rendition of his saxophone. Another special item was given by Eiddon and Eifion as they played Calon Lan with their euphonium and trombone instruments while the congregation joined singing this Welsh favourite song. This was followed by another congregational singing ‘My hope is built on nothing less’ and the music played by Ffion Kidwell on her violin and with Loren Latchman playing the piano.
‘Pastor’s Reflection’ was related by Pastor Tremeer, now Welsh youth sponsor and minister to the South Wales East. He expressed his gratitude during his time in Swansea, Carmarthen and Port Talbot Churches when he came to help Pastor Sammons who were both fresh from Newbold college but did a wonderful work with the young people. The times of regular ‘waffle’ Friday evenings at Ed and Shana and some other church activities that may have led to some baptisms. He recalled the baptism at the Gower beach. There were also some church dedications made.
The microphone was then opened to everyone who wanted to talk about the meaning of Swansea life to them. Everyone has their own memories and stories to share but only a few people had the chance to speak due to the limited time on that very cold morning. The Latchman family spoke about their appreciation of being a part of this church family in Swansea. Lily Kidwell also summarised her recollection of church life being like a rollercoaster and thanked God for all the good and not so good times. The church as a group of people meeting together was highlighted and as Christians there is need for a specific place to meet. As Luke Marshall read the scripture reading at the beginning of the service the text from the Bible in Acts 2: 41-47 shows the importance of the meeting place for people to mingle and fellowship with each other and sharing Bible studies and more people learns to know God.
I felt we all needed to pay tribute to some people in the past who contributed to the existence of the present church because without their sacrifices this church would not have been possible. There are many to mention if we look at the history of the church. With this in mind I also remember my previous neighbour used to tell me about her grandfather Samuel Freeman who used to be a lay preacher, preaching on the streets of Swansea.
The service continued and Kirsten Collier also shared her own brief version of her life in the church during the service, played the piano and sang a lovely song entitled ‘What would Jesus do?’ It was such a beautiful song that provided some background music while some pictures of the past shown on the power point by Eiffion and other organizers. There was also a showing of the surprise video recording from Ed and Shana in their new mission field in California.
Pastor Jovan Adamovic gave the conclusion of this special service for the end of an era for Swansea Seventh day Adventist church with ‘Looking into the future’ and humbly admitted self not being a future teller. There is a greater task ahead and with this challenge he considers it being like a car that needs to keep on the road will need its regular maintenance and care. Swansea church to him is a family like his previous ministerial positions and is encouraging everyone to take part in the renewal and rebuilding of this church.
The whole congregation praised God by singing ‘How great Thou art’ and Pastor Adamovic also offered the closing prayer.
Light refreshment like the usual ‘potluck’ was again enjoyed by everyone. As usual, it was a very good time to catch up with everyone.
It is our hopes and prayers that God will continually bless Swansea church.