In The Old Cottage Oven

In December 1934, ‘the ladies of Barnoldswick Congregational Church’ came to Martin Top to give a ‘service of song’. Its title? ‘In The Old Cottage Oven’. Were they singing about pastries and recipes? Who knows. A Mrs SW Watson chaired, and a Mrs Bulcock and Miss M Clark were given special mention.

It might behove the Christian to have a greater repertoire of conversation and song material other than just theology. Paul could quote the Greek poets when he preached, for example. Yet I wonder if the Barnoldswick Chapel, and our own for inviting them, was losing sight of the gospel. If The Old Cottage Oven was a platform from which the gospel could be shared, then great. If it was just an excuse to drone on about sentimental pish-posh and an occasion for elderly, Victorian ladies to reminisce about how thrilling their childhoods were, I hope they put a sock in it. The Barnoldswick chapel is long gone, its site now a care home for the elderly. A fitting replacement, perhaps. May our own chapel guard against cloying sentimentality and mawkish drivel, a sweet-smelling tank of manure in which many a church or chapel has sunk and drowned.