In 1973, a few devout people of God from the Handsworth Seventh-day Adventist Church united to form a small company in the Newtown area of Birmingham, hoping that someday it would grow into a church that would bring more people into the fellowship of God. 3 years later, on the 13th May 1976, the church was officially organised into a community church based at the William Cowper Primary School. On the weekend of 13th-15th May Aston-Newtown SDA Church celebrated the 40th year since the official organisation. The celebration weekend consisted of a Friday evening service where the B.U.C. Conference president Ian Sweeney preached a message of encouragement entitled ‘Looking Back to Look Forward”. In divine service on Sabbath morning Pastor Michael Simpson preached a sermon based on being the salt as well as the light in the community, charging everyone to be faithful in going to mingle with those in need. In the afternoon a short documentary produced by Daniel Blyden was screened for the church to view. The detailed the progression of the church which included some history of the Aston-Newtown and interviews of members and those affiliated with the church (this documentary entitled “The Journey Continues” can be viewed online at astonnewtownsda.org.uk/who-we-are/history/). The services were favoured with special tributes and items, including this poem entitled “Don’t Forget To Remember”, by Lawna Tapper:
A commemorative celebration is like an old gospel song
About inspiring journeys, pleasure-filled, yet hard and long,
Its verses tell of faith, laughter, doubt, sweat and tears,
All the joys and the struggles that have coloured past years.
But why do we bother, what’s the relevance for today?
The events, the names, what is it that they say?
Yes, we all know well, we feel it deep-down inside,
Those happenings of yesteryear, they inform and they guide.
Many with whom we started are no longer here now,
But forgetting their efforts we must never allow,
For they too prayed and encouraged, and paid prices so dear
To build and sustain what we celebrate here.
Some hands are too weak now, some legs can no longer walk,
Some heads now simply nod and smile, their voices too frail to talk,
But don’t forget to remember all that they have brought,
And to show them we’re thankful for the fight that they fought.
Then let’s be glad and sing together, both young and old,
Ancestors, elders, let’s leave none from the fold,
And as we praise and show gratitude for all the blessings we receive,
Let’s look to the future, sing the same old gospel song, holdfast and believe.
To end the weekend of celebration, a fellowship lunch was held on Sunday 15th May where members came together to reminisce and enjoy the company of each other, strengthening relationships and bonds with one another.