In 1967 my father (Leslie Meanwell) a Methodist Local Preacher discovered late on the Thursday of the week that he had doubled booked preaching appointments the following Sunday, and decided that I should take one of them for him – I was 16 years old. At the time Daventry was not part of the Rugby Circuit hence the mix up as it was not on “the plan.”
Daventry he decided was the better option for me as I had never preached before or even led a service – they were a friendly church and would understand. “By the way – the organist is blind so check first that he is happy with your choice of hymns”
I duly prepared and was warmly welcomed but remember little of the occasion apart from my nerves and the total admiration of the organist who played faultlessly.
Several years later in 1974 my father was part of a Circuit Property Committee that was discussing the new Daventry Methodist Church building and the problems they had with disposing of various items of furniture in the old building.
“David do fancy an old communion table for your house when you get married next year?” was my father’s suggestion on returning home that evening.
A couple of days later I bought for £20 the oak communion table, side chairs and preacher’s chair. At the time that I saw them, they were being used in the hall by the Girls Brigade in place of a vaulting horse for their exercises.
In the 1970s oak furniture was not fashionable so that is why it remained unsold; the pine Communion sets had been snapped up by a dealer for £80 each; as had the pews.
Thus began for me a hobby in furniture restoration and upholstery as well as lay preaching until I was ordained many years later – thanks to Daventry Methodist Church.
Today in 2021 the Communion Table and chairs continue to grace our home and has served as our dining table ever since 1975, and always with a story to tell our dinner guests.
I grew up in Long Lawford, moved to Dunchurch when first married and taught at Wolston High School. Having moved several times through the years we now live in Pembrokeshire, having been ordained by The Baptist Union of Wales.