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The Argus, 1st April 1898, transcribed by Kay Collins
Congregational Church

Sale of Work at Rushden

A very successful sale of work was held at the Congregational Schoolroom, Rushden, on Monday, in aid of the building fund. A large quantity of fancy articles had been made by the ladies of the congregation. These were effectually arranged on stalls and were of such a high quality as to find ready purchasers. The stallholders were: Fancy stalls, Miss E. Colson (secretary), Mrs. Baird, Mrs. Hall, Mrs. King, Mrs. Gilbert; refreshments, Mrs. Nevell, Mrs. F. Darlow, Miss Bedford, Mrs. Blackwell, Mrs. Allen; toys, Miss G. Parkin; bran tub, Master R. Parkin.—There was a good attendance at the opening ceremony, among those present being: The Rev. M. E. Parkin (pastor), the Rev. J. Scarborough, the Rev. A. L. Billingham, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffery Clarke (Market Harborough). After the usual devotional exercises, the Rev. M. E. Parkin said that it was seven years since he settled in Rushden and, as most of them would remember, they worshipped in that room which was not quite so comfortable as it was that afternoon. They had worked together during those years and the outcome had been the erection of the much larger place of worship. He was sorry to say that there was a considerable debt still to discharge. That chapel had met a large need in that growing town and they had endeavoured in many ways so to preach and work as to gather in a large number who otherwise did not attend any places of worship. The fact that every Sunday afternoon they gathered 500 people together to listen to the gospel at once proved that the work had not been in vain. When they thought of the large increase in the Sunday school and the increase in the Sunday services they felt that they took a step in the right direction when they enlarged their borders and built the beautiful church in front of those schools. Of course, it was a large undertaking, but they had proceeded from, time to time and had made the burden as easy as they possibly could. He bore cheerful testimony to the help and sympathy of their friends, and said that they had had no friends equal to those who had come from Market Harborough. He mentioned such names as Messrs. Morris, Edie, Symington, and Goddard, saying that he was sure they felt they had done good service. The speaker bore special testimony to the practical sympathy of the family of Mr. Clarke in the work of that church and in Congregationalism, generally. He concluded by announcing that Mrs. Clarke (senior) had written expressing regret that she was unable to be present and enclosing a cheque for £20. (Loud applause) Mrs. Jeffery Clarke then declared the sale open. The Rev. M. E. Parkin proposed a vote of thanks to Mrs. Clarke, which was carried by acclamation. Mr. Clarke responded on behalf of his wife and the sale then proceeded. During the evening a musical programme was carried out.

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