If you have been following the real-life faith stories of our churches, you’ll have picked up on the diversity of people who go to church in Marsden and Slaithwaite. What is shared today was written by Jenny Schofield from conversations with her Mother: Jim
This is the third generation of the Schofield women to have their story published on our Church website, so together with Emma’s story of faith as something that she lives and breathes, and Jenny’s 3am wake up call from God…
Drawing lockdown, I have been living with Mum and as we have talked together, I have learnt more about how her faith is entwined with her life.
She was born in 1922. Her parents wanted a boy as they already had Fred 15, Lillian 13, Mary 10, and Anne 4. The new baby would be Jim. Mum became Edith but to her family and their friends she was known as Jim. My Dad called her Jim, and she is Aunty Jim, and Grandma Jim to all her Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren. Some of you probably know her as Jim, as she loves this.
Her family lived in New Earswick near York which was a private village built for the workers at Rowntree’s factory. The Rowntree family were Quakers so there was a meeting house in the village and a Methodist chapel, as they don’t drink alcohol. No Church of England, but they had a small wooden heart just outside the village where they used to worship. Mum remembers going to the hut with her sisters every Sunday and when Sunday school was over, she went into church and sat through the adult service with her Mum – she was 4 years old.
The congregation eventually had enough money to build a stone church. In the meantime, there were trips to the Minster with a lady from church whenever there was something appropriate for them to see. Also, two of the teachers took them to the seaside every year for 2 days. Church was an integral part of her life from birth through school, and after she started work at 16 in the office of Rowntree’s, she had progressed to church picnics and church dances.
War began in 1938 when Mum was 16, she couldn’t join up until she was 18, but as soon as she was old enough her and her best friend volunteered for the Air Force and were accepted. Her horizons were about to widen.
Mum says everyone worked hard, and played hard, during the war but they prayed hard too.
It was her job to talk to the aircrews when they were taking off or landing and while they were flying. She worked at bases all over England and in Ireland where the crews were mainly Australian and always asked you to marry them. She says it was very hard when the crews stopped talking to you, or they crashed on landing: one day you were at a dance with them, and the next day were gone. The aerodromes themselves were often targets for bombs or strafing, they prayed and kept going hoping it would be not be them.
Mum met my Dad during the war, he was on the coastal batteries and they got together at a local church dance. As soon as war ended, they were married in 1945.
Huddersfield was a shock to her there were hills (no hills in York) and she couldn’t ride her bike! They lived with relatives and shared rooms in someone’s house. Then they had David, and then they had me, and moved to Scapegoat Hill with an outside toilet.
Sundays were Scape Chapel for my brother and I, and my Mum walked down to Golcar Parish Church. She preferred the service there, but it could have been that she got away from us for a few hours.
A move to Slaithwaite was next, and we worshipped at St James Church there. For us children it must have been like it was at Mum’s church in new Earswick. Sunday school youth club at one of the chapels, Mum joined the Mothers Union and went to fellowship meetings. As I got older and married, I went to Marsden Church and then Slaithwaite Church, and so did my children.
Mum can no longer attend Church, but we do the service from the sheet every Sunday. She is still finding out more about God, it is part of her life and always has been. He has been with her through war and serious illness. He has helped her through the death of her husband. She tells me that she thanks God every morning that she is still here and says her prayers every night as she always has. Her faith keeps her going, and her faith means that I am a Christian, and my children and my grandchildren know God. The way she has lived her life has affected lots of people. She isn’t famous, but she is loved by us and by God.
There must be lots of other Christians like her, all thanks be to God.