Greetings from Rev. Donald H. Ryan 1971-1981

As I write this greeting for the Silver Jubilee of the new Wednesfield Methodist Church I recall the very many happy memories of those eventful 10 years. My ministry at Wednesfield and Wood End was challenging, very fulfilled and rewarding. The friendship of all the members and friends was and is very precious to us. When Alma and I came to view the appointment in 1970, Cyril Squire who was the Circuit Steward met us as we left the M6 Motorway.

We were kindly welcomed when we went to see Fallings Park and Wednesfield Trinity Churches and given warm hospitality. We were shown around the Manse where we met Harry Griffiths. The long journey from Barrow in Furness was soon forgotten as we had a whirlwind tour of the circuit ending at Darlington Street to meet Rev. Joseph Dowell and the Circuit Stewards.

My ministry in the Darlington Street Circuit started on the 1st September 1971. On Monday the 13th September a large and impressive car drew up at the Manse and Cyril Squire got out of his pride and joy the "summer car" he called his "one extravagance". Cyril said, "come on and show you round your parish". As we drove along Wood End Road, past the church, Cyril, pointing to the church said, "that is the church we want you to help us unite with".

No one had spoken to me before that moment about the existence of Wood End Church /et alone that I was expected to chair a joint committee of both Churches to explore the possibility of joining the Wood End and Wednesfield Trinity Churches and find a new site for a new Church. At the first Leader's meeting at Wednesfield Trinity it was agreed that there should be a joint meeting "on neutral ground". The TocH room was suggested. This diplomatic suggestion was not proceeded with. We agreed that we wanted to talk as friends to friends and fellow Methodists and we did not want to suggest that Wednesfield Trinity was anything other than an equal partner in the venture.

Wednesfield Trinity sent an invitation to Wood End Church asking for a joint meeting. 1 was soon to meet Leslie and Gerry Hughes who gave me wise and helpful insights into the situation in Wood End Church. Edie Walters sought me out and further filled in the picture for me.

At the initial meeting at Wood End it was proposed to hold a joint general Church Meeting at Wood End where anyone from either Church could express his or her vision, or reservations about a joint Church.

Following an honest, forthright and harmonious conversation, listing the advantages and the concerns of the people about the joining of the two churches a vote was taken which indicated a large majority wanted to proceed with joint conversations, One of the stumbling blocks was that the Wood End Church was in the Willenhall Circuit, and the Wednesfield Trinity Church was in the Darlington Street Circuit. At a subsequent joint meeting it was proposed to the two Circuits, that there should be a Wolverhampton and Shrewsbury District Commission to revue location of the Churches and make recommendations on the staffing of the Willenhall, Darlington Street, and Bloxwich Circuits.

In 1972 the Commission met and in 1973 recommended that Wood End Church should be transferred to the Darlington Street Circuit with me as the minister. The Commission also recommended that the Willenhall and Bloxwich Circuits should unite. In September 1974 the Bloxwich and Willenhall Circuit was formed and at the same time the Wood End Church was transferred to the Darlington Street Circuit.'

Following several searches for a new site on Wood End Road and other parts of Wednesfield it was decided that a new Church should be built on Wood End Church site. A new Allen Classical Digital Organ was donated to replace the old tracker action organ at Wednesfield Trinity with a view to it being transferred to the new Church when it was built.

By the time I left in 1981 an architect had been commissioned to design the new church, and the Church Council and the Methodist Property Division in Manchester approved the plans. The two churches were to hold weekly-united services and were on the verge of building the new Church.

It was a great joy to me to be invited to take the evening service on the Sunday when the new Wednesfield Methodist Church was opened. In my retirement it has been for me a special privilege to conduct worship at Wednesfield and always a pleasure to meet you all again. My prayer is that God will continue to bless you all and the Wednesfield continue to prosper. With God's Richest Blessing. Donald.

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