During the early war years the NAAFI were given the use of the schoolroom; during this time worship was held during either afternoon or evening depending on the seasons of the year - there was no blackout for the church windows. This proved a very difficult time: NAAFI programmes should have been closed at worship times, this was not always kept.
However, Pastor Turner who came to be our lay pastor in 1941, after a Recognition Service on 27 December 1941, was used to mediate with the Military Authorities to release the schools back to us, and at the same time redecorate. I remember what a joy this was for us to have the rooms back for our activities.
Mr Turner became a loving Pastor to us, after each service prayers were offered to God for all who were called into HM Forces. He had been a member of Melbourne Hall, Leicester, and continued to live there, travelling into Barrow for services and meetings. The Lord called him after a Sunday School Anniversary day in May 1941, the church recognised it and after meetings held by the officers in his home and also after Sunday evening church services held on the last two Sunday evenings in August he and the church agreed that he would pastor first of all for the first three months of 1942 - it lasted over three years.
At the Recognition Service the Area Superintendent, Rev C H Weaver, preached at the afternoon service, worship continued into the evening when Mr T Carvill of Melbourne Hall, Leicester was the chairman with Rev F W Scott, Rev E E Allwood and Alderman C Wilson ministering, local ministers from Loughborough, Quorn and Mountsorrel.
In July 1943 eight were received into membership, six by transfer, two by profession and by April 1945 nine young people had joined the church by baptism on two occasions.
In May 1945 Mr Turner terminated his lay pastoring, his wife became ill and passed away, but his friendship continued, he had served our church here in Barrow through very difficult years.
Reading a paragraph in the Leicester Mercury recently - 1992 - looking back with memories, it read
'Mrs M E Haynes of Thurcaston, recalls that her childhood visit to Burleigh Brook Park was from a Baptist chapel, and that she went there in a horse drawn barge. The barge was owned by a Mr Goodacre, organist at the chapel, who ran the mill at Barrow on Soar. It was rather frightening when we went through the lock at Barrow', she says.
In the following poem, written by the late Alfred Peat in January 1942, a church member of the chapel here at the time, reminds us toward the end of the use of the barge for Sunday School 'treats'. Our older members have often recalled them.
Old Ties - Barrow on Soar
Written in gratitude for the privilege of spending a long and very happy period in this delightful locality, so rich in memorable associations.
Sweet mem'ries cluster round the brow.
Where stands the Church in hallowed pride,
Symbol of loves unchanging vow
'My presence with you shall abide'.
There hymns in adoration rise,
While Grace falls gently as the dew,
Strength'ning divine arid human ties In bonds of fellowship anew.
Invisible - the sacred ties
Stretch from the cradle to the tomb,
While silently the shuttle flies
Weaving fresh shades on natures loom.
These silken cords so finely spun
By sacrificial love, endure
The stress and strain, until the 'Sun'
Reveals the strands so long obscure.
See from this noble, ancient tower,
Tokens of fellowship supreme,
Where duty with impelling power
Disturbs at dawn the sleepers dream.
'Tis sweet to see the incense rise
From homely hearts at break of day,
Where selfless love in patience tries
To keep in check each wayward trait.
A warm embrace, and then farewell,
Faith smiles in triumph over fear,
In simple trust that all is well
With loved ones far away or near.
Soon, soon the toilsome day will end,
When liberty unlocks the door
To untold wealth, then friend meets friend
In social intercourse once more.
Ah, who would check the flow of mirth,
Fine flavoured jokes, the jovial song,
True harmony brings 'Peace on Earth'
Sustains the weak, restrains the strong.
We all are dreamers, in our ken
Are visions beautiful to see,
But none so beautiful as when
All people live in harmony.
The old church bells ring out again
A message of goodwill and cheer,
While down the lane, dear old Mill Lane,
Dream voices float across the weir,
An ancient barge glides into view,
Laden with wealth beyond compare,
Dream children sing 'God be with you'
As gently fades a vision rare.
Mrs Haynes had looked back 50 years, we look back 50 or more years as we read this poem written back in 1942. It is a reminder of slower days. The war years when families waited - when perhaps the writer of the poem was looking back another 50 years - for the Sunday School in my time did not use the barge. We had 'moved on', we marched the streets of Barrow on Soar, we non-conformists - the little ones riding in open lorries, singing, laughing, crying, arriving at 'the banks' fields (now bungalows have been built on the ground), the village silver prize band playing, children running, jumping, dancing to the tunes -returning to our Sunday School rooms for the lovely 'Marcers iced buns'. They were special days.
But we 'moved on' even more: cheap train trips on Saturday evenings for 9d (old money) a time, half price for children, took us to local parks, a different place to have fun, that was during my early teenage days.
Then the war years ......there must have
been a problem.