Men’s group more than shop full of old curiosities

A shop full old curiosities kept members of Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership’s men’s group, Room’n’ate, amused at its latest meeting.

Rev Andy Jowitt with the gong from Papua New Guinea.

The curiosities were the years of collecting by the Rev Andy Jowitt who explained where in the world he had amassed the items from.

It was the final meeting for Andy who is leaving the post of minister in Milton Keynes on October 15 after 17 years – firstly solely in charge at Bradwell Church and in more recent years also adding Cross and Stable Church, Downs Barn, to his responsibilities.

Andy brought his curiosities to the meeting at Wolverton House restaurant, Wolverton Mill, fittingly in a battered old suitcase with all but a stool from Uganda fitting into it. The stool was a reminder of the hospitality Andy received when he lived in Uganda many years while he also demonstrated a slit gong featuring a crocodile’s head design from Papua New Guinea, a gift from a visit to the far eastern country.

Closer to home Andy displayed some items passed down his family line including his grandpa’s log – recalling his grandfather had been badly shot during the Battle of the Somme in the First World War and was left for dead, only to be found barely alive later when he was about to be buried.

He had also inherited his grandfather’s watch which had proved to be unreliable, having stopped at the time he was shot.

Andy and his wife Jane are to take up voluntary posts with Christian environmental charity, A Rocha , based near Sudbury in Suffolk and he said he hoped to have more time to do sketching – he demonstrated his only work so far, an excellent drawing of a donkey laden with goods.

Men’s group member, Bob Cross, praised Andy’s hard work as founder and being one of the driving forces of Room’n’Ate. He said: “The best tribute we can make is to keep this group going after Andy leaves.”

Bradwell Church member and Baptist lay preacher, Rod Ruston, closed the meeting with a prayer for Andy and his family.