This year the Methodist Ladies Group at Guisborough Methodist Church, now known as “Tuesday at Eight”, is celebrating its 60th Anniversary 1955-2015. We are delighted to report that we have one founder member who still attends our regular meetings – Ruth Bean. Ruth recalls that there were just nine participants in the very first meeting 60 years ago. We currently have an active core of around forty Methodist and United Reform members meeting fortnightly.
The group started out as a Young Wives Group, and it is believed that all members had to be married with young children under the age of 16. As we all grew older, the “Young” was dropped and we were known simply as the Wives Group – still implying that we all had husbands. Times change, and with the introduction of the umbrella name of “Network” for all Methodist Women, it was decided to change the name again to “Tuesday at Eight”¸ making clear the day and time of our meetings, although it is always a source of amusement when we change the start time to 7pm or 7.30pm. All women, regardless of marital status and age, are now welcome, of course. Since 2011 we belong to the over-arching “Methodist Women in Britain” organisation, participating in local, Cleveland & Danby Circuit and Darlington District MWiB events. We also have strong links with the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women.
With the introduction of ordained female Methodist Ministers from 1974 our constitution had to be changed to amend generic references to a Minister’s wife and of course to include the option of having a female Minister at our Church.
On Saturday 10th October we hosted an afternoon tea 3pm – 5pm, followed by an act of worship with Revd Kathleen Bowe (a former Minister at Guisborough) in thanksgiving for 60 years of fellowship, fun and fund-raising, based on being Pilgrims Together on a Journey. We were delighted that Sarah Braisdell joined us on the afternoon to give us an up-date on her research project telling the story of women’s involvement in British Methodism since its beginnings in 1858. Sarah is very much interested in our group’s history and development over the past 60 years, evident as she engaged with members and their individual stories.
Sarah is looking for our answers to the following key questions: What is your first memory of encountering any women’s movement in Methodism? What has been your most significant engagement with any women’s movement in Methodism? Where have you seen women changed, or the world changed, by these movements?
Around 60 members, past and present, were together on 10th October. There was a wonderful display of lots of photographs and other memorabilia of our group’s 60 years. Group members donated several 20th century key artefacts to Sarah to assist with her project.
Past members travelled from all around the country to be with us and we were all delighted to renew old friendships and catch up with one another over tea. Last, but by no means least, Ruth was invited to cut a special anniversary celebration cake for all to share.