It was with a sense of sadness that I read our church has decided not to have evening services any more. The congregation had voted with their feet and, as numbers dwindled, it had been decided to remove the evening services from the weekly schedule.
Although I was disappointed, I have to admit that it's been a good number of years since I've been a regular at church on a Sunday evening. Back in my teenage days it was a different story, with Sunday mornings spent leading a junior church group, the evening service gave me a chance to worship and to meet up with my friends at the youth group afterwards.
As the years passed and children of my own arrived, getting out to the evening service became more difficult and priorities changed. After a while habits changed and Sunday evenings became time for us as a family and preparation for the working week ahead.
So my sadness at our church's decision makes me sound like a hypocrite really, as I didn't even go to the evening service. Perhaps it was the regret that my own teenage children hadn't had the same experiences as me when it came to church and that sense of belonging to the Sunday evening crowd.
I began to ponder the situation and it dawned on me that we might not have a Sunday evening congregation, but we do have a lively and thriving Wednesday evening congregation... commonly known as the Girls' Brigade group.
Around 100 of us, aged between four and 50-ish, meet each week and, for about three hours or so, we 'do' church. We sing together, we pray, we look at God's word and work out how we can apply it to our lives. We eat together, we fellowship together, we laugh and we cry together. We share our problems and our joys. We have pastors, administrators, treasurers, teachers, encouragers, those with the gift of hospitality and those with a servant heart. We even send young women out on international mission.
Thankfully the Bible doesn't specify a day and a time for being church... we're being church every time we gather together and, for many girls in our community, that's mid-week at GB.
Sally Claydon is Girls' Brigade team leader at 1st Hawkwell group and a GB Development Worker in London, based at Hawkwell Baptist Church, Rochford, Essex. She writes a regular column about the Girls' Brigade for
The Baptist Times.