Preacher celebrating 60 years behind the pulpit

Colin Scholes
Colin Scholes

A 79-year-old member of Mount Zion Independent Methodist Church in Cliviger has celebrated 60 years of preaching.

Colin Scholes, a former headmaster at Worsthorne County Primary School, gave up playing the cornet in the Cliviger Silver Band because he felt he would be better used as a preacher.

From that initial first sermon - which he repeated at the church on the 60th anniversary of first preaching it - he was invited to other churches in the Independent Methodist Connexion and so began years of helping congregations in churches all over the North-West.

For two years he was the National President of the small denomination travelling to churches as far as Bristol to the Isle of Man to encourage members.

"It has been, and still is, a wonderful experience," he said.

"My disappointment in the decline in church attendance is tempered by memories of the many kind and generous people I have met in so many different places.

"Looking back, the support of my wife and family along with the encouragement of my local church has been crucial in being able to reacvh this landmark.

"Preaching appointments in the 1950s were arranged by 'snail mail' - there were few telephones and travel was always by public transport. It is all so different now.

"But it is still a joy to be invited to preach a biblical message which is as relevant to the changing conditions and the times in which we live and I have no plans to retire anytime soon."

During the service at Mount Zion the church leaders thanked him for his many years of service, presenting him with a gift along with a bouquet of flowers for Rena, his wife, who has supported him - including often singing a solo during the services he led.

He was also able to point to the many changes in village life during his lifetime.

Having lived in the parish of Cliviger all his life he was able to point to the way the area has changed along with the different congregations.

"When I was a young man there were at least eight shops in the village, including a post office. Now there is only the garage, a filling station with a shop attached, and a ladies' hairdressers."