"Friendly" and "welcoming" are words often used by visitors to Old Buckenham
Methodist Church. The building was refurbished some 15 years ago with a new
kitchen, vestry, entrance hall, fully accessible toilet, new seats, new
organ and overhead electric heaters. It is quite near the centre of the
large village and has its own car park.

But it is the people that make a church. Myrtle Bloom arrived in Old
Buckenham in 1949 when she married Peter, who recently received the
certificate to mark 60 years since he became a Local Preacher. For many
years, they ran a successful Sunday School with a team of teachers and up to
60 members, helped by invitations from their three sons. That Sunday School
was at the heart of church life. A clear policy was to get involved in
village and circuit events, while having fun.  A four-strong winning quiz
team and taking a football team to play Wymondham are remembered. Highlight
of each year was the Nativity Play, after which the children and young
people were presented with their prizes. Some members stayed on as teachers
and several still keep in touch. A Youth Club programme included monthly
visits to Watton.

A women's fellowship continues to meet on the first Wednesday of each month.
Among past activities has been dressing up as characters from the Bible  and
helping the late Eileen Barker with a popular annual spring Flower Festival.
Recent speakers have included Kate Daynes, Trixie Dye, Jean Larner and Katie

Resuming in March will be the Songs of Praise evenings on the third
Wednesday. These attract people who do not attend Sunday worship as well as
visitors and soloists from other village chapels. Deacon Jen Woodfin and Rev
Jacqui Horton usually attend and members "cannot speak too highly" of their
contribution to the life of the church through difficult times, with Jen
accompanying Songs of Praise meetings and as many Sunday services as
possible. Members were pleased to welcome former organist Doreen a couple of
times recently when health and transport allowed.

For the 1045 Sunday service, copies of "Singing the Faith" have been
ordered, though "Mission Praise"   and "Hymns and Psalms" will still be
available. New residents and a lady in business locally have recently joined
the faithful few.

Written by John Saunders  (The Methodist, March 2015)