Rushden people are hospitable, friendly and have a fine sense of humour: that must have been the immediate conclusion reached by the Rev. Reginald Taylor, the new minister at the High Street Independent Wesleyan Church, who was officially welcomed to the town on Saturday.
First to welcome Mr Taylor, his wife and daughter, was the chairman of the urban council, Mr Cyril Faulkner. His light-hearted address at the reception tea in the church hall set the trend. Soon the large number of people, including a party of forty from Hucknall, Nottinghamshire, where Mr Taylor’s previous church was, were enjoying an informal description of the sort of things he was likely to encounter in Rushden.
Said Mr. Faulkner: “One hears a lot about Rushden being a one-horse town or even a one-hearse town, but it is certainly not a one denomination town.” Mr Taylor would find plenty of friends among the other ministers in Rushden, through the Council of Churches.
Although he did not mention Higham Ferrers by name, Mr Faulkner alluded to the ancient borough next door “the smaller town with the longer name” and expected Mr Taylor might shortly see a “marriage of convenience” between the two towns.
Mr Faulkner, accompanied by his wife, wished Mr Taylor a very long and happy stay in Rushden.
The rector, the Rev. I. E. Douglas-Jones, chairman of Rushden Council of Churches, spoke of the very happy relationship between all the churches: “We are an exceptional town: there is a happy and cordial relationship among the clergy. Since the council of churches started seven years ago we have had some profitable times,” said the rector.
However, he added that a certain difficulty had been experienced because there were so many changes and it was hard to get a sense of continuity just as they were about to start on some joint scheme another minister would leave.
The Rev. D. A. Morris, minister at Rushden Mission Church and president of the local circuit, assured Mr Taylor that before long he would feel as though he had been in the town a lifetime. There had always been a close association between his church and the Independent Wesleyan Church and Mr Taylor would quickly feel at home.
The Rev. J. Slow, Finedon Independent Wesleyan Church, also welcomed Mr Taylor.
The Rev. Lewis R. Misselbrook, Park Road Baptist Church, said it was with complete satisfaction and great delight he welcomed Mr Taylor who had been removed to Rushden, where he would find real brotherhood in the council of churches.
“Since moving to Rushden last November I have settle down very quickly.” He found it a remarkably friendly place.
The Rev. H. Whittaker, county field officer for Northamptonshire Association of Youth Clubs, explained that he was a very old friend of Mr Taylor and was very glad when he learned he was going to move to Rushden.
Mr Whittaker said that he had never known a more dedicated couple than Mr and Mrs Taylor. Mr Taylor had great preaching gifts, and he hoped his new congregation would follow his lead.
Mrs F. W. Noble welcomed Mrs Taylor to the church and looked forward to seeing her at the women’s organisations meetings.
Mr C. Johnson, who travelled from Hucknall, mentioned the past work Mr Taylor had done in the town. But first he had some explaining to do. For just as tea was about to be served, a policewoman entered the hall and left with Mr Johnson who had inadvertently parked in a restricted area.
He smiled afterwards: “I narrowly escaped jail.” Then taking a more serious tone he told the gathering of the work Mr Taylor had done in Hucknall. “He is going to be missed by a lot of people, including those who have never been inside the doors of our church,” said Mr Johnson.
Chairman Mr J. W. Richardson, church secretary, read a letter of greetings from the Rev. Gordon Bellamy whom Mr Taylor replaces who hoped his stay in Rushden would be as happy as his had been. The Rev. Alan Braybrooks, Highfield Baptist Church, also sent a letter of welcome.
The tea was followed by Mr Taylor’s induction service at the church, conducted by the Rev. A. Halladay, general secretary of the Wesleyan Reform Union. Also taking part in the service were the Rev. N. Morton (Barnsley), Mr Morris and Mr Slow. Mr F. Noble welcomed Mr Taylor on behalf of the church.
Forty-year-old Mr Taylor was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, and educated at St James’ School. Before joining the Navy during the second World War, he had an ironmongery business. After the war he studied at Cliff College, Derbyshire, and was later on the staff for two years.
He has held pastorates in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and was at Hucknall, in Nottinghamshire, for five years. He and his wife, Marjorie, have a nine-year-old daughter, Ruth.