I have been asked to write a piece for the Link about myself. You can stop reading now as it won’t be very interesting!

I was born in Dewsbury and have lived most of my life in the area except for three years in London training to be a physiotherapist.

My parents and maternal grandparents were members of Longcauseway Church, or as it was known in the first half or so of the last century: United Congregational Church (Ebenezer) Dewsbury. They were active members in the church and in the town. My two older brothers and I were baptised and brought up in the life of the church. I used to go to the morning service with my Dad but was allowed to come out and walk home before ‘The Long Prayer’! It was very long!   We went to Sunday school in the afternoon: the classes were huge and the vast ancillary buildings were greatly needed at that time. I loved that building with all its floors and quirky rooms. I became a Sunday School Teacher at sixteen and played the piano for the older teenagers up to going away to London.

I was part of a very active Youth Group and we enjoyed many Youth Hostelling holidays and fun activities in the church.

I have been a member of the church for fifty years, was married here in 1971 and brought our two children to be baptised in the later 1970s.

I was ordained as an elder in the 1990s during Frank Nunn’s time at
Longcauseway and served for six years. Up until the time I took on the role of Church Secretary in 2008 I served on various committees including the Worship Group, Ladies Fellowship and Christian Aid Representative. Due to work pressures and family commitments the years between 2000 and retirement from work in 2008 were very busy and pressurised. The fellowship understood this and allowed me to take a ‘back seat’.

So in 2008, very soon after I retired, John Jenkinson asked me if I would be Church Secretary. I said no but knew that this would be my role at some point. At the end of the year I accepted the ‘call’ and immediately went into negotiations with ecumenical officers to bring Longcauseway Church into a full Local Ecumenical Partnership with Dewsbury Methodist Church. This took almost two years to achieve but we made it in the end.  

I have worked with eight ministers and have played my part in the vacancy
process for Mark Robinson and Janine Atkinson and the retirement and leaving of John Jenkinson, Judith Satchell and Alison Termie. I will always be grateful for the kind mentoring of Frank Nunn; we were both Capricorns and got on well together. 
My duties as Church Secretary have been many and varied from the administration of the Church affairs, to organising baptisms, weddings and funerals. Mainly it has been having an overview of the life of Longcauseway Church, making sure that events and meetings happen when they should. I have needed to be thinking ahead to ensure the smooth running of the church. This has been particularly necessary as there is no longer ‘one’ minister, but a team ministry and that we are part of SPACE and the North Kirklees and Morley Methodist Circuit. I seem to have been the person ‘to go to’.

It has been a balancing act at times managing the higher authorities of the URC and Methodist Church to the satisfaction of the Longcauseway
Fellowship.

I have enjoyed my time as Church Secretary, although at times it has been stressful and has caused me some sleepless nights. The time has flown by and I know it is time to hand over to Jo Hartley after the Annual Church Meeting next year. I will continue to be an active member and, of course, an elder although not a serving elder for a while, working to the best of my ability to further God’s Kingdom in the community in which Longcauseway is situated.

 

Sally Speight

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