A ‘Celebration of Marriage’

Anita Hayne reports back on St Edwards Chilton Polden’s recent exhibition:

“Having a church filled with wedding dresses and stories was what Susie Parsons had hoped for when she came up with the idea last year and that was certainly what St. Edwards Chilton Polden achieved over the weekend of 12th & 13th May. At the time we had no idea it was going to be near the Royal wedding either!

“On display were 11 different dresses together with their stories. The oldest being 1958 and the newest being the dress of the bride to be married in the church the following week, 19th May.  When Susie and I had finished decorating the church on the Friday evening we had no idea it was going to be full of such different dresses each of which were very generously lent to us together with mementos and photos of the happy occasions.

“Over the weekend opening hours the church was filled with laughter and joy, and people’s own stories as they shared their own memories and marvelled at the beauty of the dresses in front of them. Jane Hancock the Bishop’s wife had kindly lent her dress and she and Bishop Peter visited on Saturday spending much time chatting to the people who were present. The event was raising funds not only for the church itself but also for Bridgwater Foodbank as they work towards buying the building they are currently based. Each of the Polden Wheel Churches acts as a collection point for the Foodbank and we are keen to support them in this appeal; and at St Edwards we felt it was a fitting link when you move from a wedding to having food at the reception.

“Such a weekend can’t happen without the help and support of those who manned the event and to the flower guild who kindly decorated the church. If you came and visited many thanks too. We were so pleased to see you and to give you chance to see what goes on in our community its history, its present and on this occasion via one dress its future! The church looked very empty at the end of Sunday evening informal service, when all had been cleared, but it now holds another memory of such a joyous event.”

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