The Six Parishes Supper Club – Thank you and farewell
After more than 20 years, 61 gatherings, 59 different speakers and 4 resident vicars, the Six Parishes Supper Club which met at the Punchbowl Restaurant, will not be returning post Covid.
The Supper Club was started by Rev John Sibson in September 1999 when he was looking for an informal opportunity to gather people together socially and away from the church buildings. John records in his notes from the time, ‘David was enthusiastic when I approached him with the idea, so we organised a three-course meal followed by a speaker.’ John’s instruction to the speaker was about 20 minutes, ‘serious content, but not too heavy’!
Our first speaker in September 1999 was the then Archdeacon of Colchester, Martin Wallace and our last in January 2020 was Anna White from Fellowship Afloat. In between we have welcomed Bishops, chaplains, clergy, the Liaison Officer 21st World Scout Jamboree, Christian golf society, UK Aid, Farleigh Hospice, CHESS, Harlow Foodbank, Children on the Edge as well as other Christian organisations, charities and individuals who have shared their own journey of faith and how it has influenced their life and work. You will all have your favourites, perhaps if like me you were there in May 2012 you will not have forgotten the moving and impassioned speaker David Donovan from New Foundations Christian Medical Charity. There have of course been some speakers who have been controversial, some who have been a bit ‘too heavy’ and some we would probably not want to invite back. Whoever the speaker they have all given us something to talk about!
Our decision to close the doors on the Supper Club follows Penny and David’s decision to ‘hang up their aprons’. The Punchbowl has been the base of the Supper Club and on behalf of the Six Parishes and all who have attended I would like to thank Penny, David and the entire Punchbowl team for welcoming the Supper Club and for your steadfast hospitality, energy and patience. And finally thank you to the 100’s of people who have attended one or more Supper Clubs and been part of the John’s original idea of people from across the villages gathering, journeying and sharing together.
Allison Ward (Supper Club co-ordinator 2007 to 2020!)