Have you ever felt that you truly belonged to something or someone? Have you ever really felt part of a community? Have you ever felt part of something that seemed to really matter? For hundreds of people, over the space of some 25 years, Croft Christian Fellowship was a place where they found love, belonging and community in Swindon Town.

On the 17th of July, former members of Croft Christian Fellowship are invited to come and celebrate the wonderfully diverse community that was ‘Croft’. ‘Croft’ was a Swindon based church that grew out of the House Church movement in the late 1960s. In its formative years the Church was little more than a group of like minded individuals who met on a regular basis at a house on Croft Rd in old town with the simple aim of sharing their faith with one another. Over the years the Church outgrew the house in Croft Rd and had to find a new home; firstly, in Sussex square, Walcott, then in the Ellendune Centre in Wroughton, until finally settling at Churchfields school hall until its final days in 1994.

At Croft’s peak from the mid ‘80s – mid ‘90s the church had a regular attendance of between 100 and 200 adults and children, and in its 35 or so years, positively impacted the lives of hundreds more people, including many from other Christian Churches in Swindon and elsewhere who had heard of Croft and visited it to ‘see for themselves’.

On the 17th of July there will be a reunion day held at the Ellendune centre to celebrate the Church and the Community it gave birth to. Between 100 and 200 people are expected to attend the event, including the original founders Mike and Anne Ranstead. Many of the original networks that formed in Croft still exist, and news has spread far and wide about the event. For many people, the Community they were part of back then still holds a special significance; though the Church has ceased to exist, the relationships live on.

The event will give people an opportunity to catch up and re-kindle old friendships, some of which may have dwindled over the years as people moved away and rarely if ever met up again. It will also be a day for people to re-connect with what they experienced in that time of their life, but also with what they were able to contribute, and fundamentally to feel gratitude and a sense of celebration about the Croft Community. Croft was always a place that welcomed anyone through its doors. Some people will be returning with a very different set of beliefs, attitudes and life choices than they had 20 years ago, but all will be welcomed and celebrated as part of the community that lives on. The aim of the day is gratitude and fun!

The day itself will involve a talk on the history of ‘Croft’ given by Anne and Mike Ranstead who owned the house on Croft Rd and led the Church in the first 20 or so years.

Jamie Stapleton and Megan Worthing-Davies, who both grew up in the Church, are running the event. Speaking of the influence of Croft on their lives Jamie said: ‘I really don’t think I would be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Croft. The Church was like a big extended family and we both feel that it has shaped our lives and who we have become immensely. We want to celebrate this and all of the people who have been a part of it’.

Megan is organising the event as part of a project she is doing with Landmark Education. ‘Landmark has encouraged me to think about the contribution I am making to the world around me, and we were asked to take on a project to positively impact a community that was significant to us. The idea came to me straight away, because although Croft as an organisation no longer exists, it has left a truly wonderful legacy which I think it’s high time to celebrate!’

The Croft Community reunion day will be held on Saturday 17th July at the Ellendude centre in Wroughton from 1:00 pm – 7:00pm. If you would like to attend or would like more information, please contact Jamie Stapleton on 07786 968701 or Megan Worthing-Davies on 07814 036789.