The origin/s of the temporary building that became the first church for the Saint Joseph the Worker parish in 1966 is/are not known for sure. At least three beliefs have been expressed regarding the matter.
One version of where the construction came from was initially heard decades ago - that it was the former Thomas More church building.
Then it was said, also many years ago, that the church was the former Saint John Fisher building. However, in 2012, over the telephone, the parish priest of the aforementioned church informed the writer that he had never heard of that.
The third belief, expressed to the writer by the late Mr. Bob Jones in 2015, was that it was a former Royal Air Force building.
In 1966, the construction work was still being completed while the first Saint Joseph the Worker church was in the initial period of its use. During Sunday morning mass, hot liquid tar could be seen being used in the process of affixing tarpaulin to the sloping roof at the front part of the building.
The church nave was somewhat oblong in shape and essentially prefabricated, with a flat roof. It is confirmed that the construction had an adjoining front part made of wood at a right angle to the nave, with the sloping roof referred to above, giving the whole building a sort of t shape.
A pleasant shade of darker green colouring adorned the outside of the building.
The exact dimensions of the church are not known, but it is possible that, though differently shaped to its successor, it was, at least, a similar size to the next place of worship that was completed in 1981.
Entrance to, and exit from, the first Saint Joseph the Worker church was via the side of the building that was parallel to Kirby Corner Road.
At the front of the church, parallel to Shultern Lane, was a reasonably large car park, the ground covering being a fawn coloured sort of shale material.
Inside the temporary building, there was a reception area at the entrance point and the vestry to the left on entry. The areas for the members of the congregation were in the nave plus each side of the altar. The latter overall area was under the sloping roof at the front of the church. There was a retractable, light coloured, dividing wooden door/screen in front of the altar. It was said by the late Mr. Peter King, the husband of the previously mentioned Mrs. Eileen Christina King, that Father Boulton had paid £400 for the wooden chairs in the church.
The number of people the church could accommodate can also be assessed from the information regarding Sunday attendances that is presented below. Although the exact capacity of the building is not known, it can be seen that the church could hold around 100 or more people at a given time.
The late Mr. Bob Jones, a former Anglican, was there from the start of the parish, and he was a great servant of Saint Joseph the Worker for many years. Sadly, in 2008, he suffered a stroke at his home in Canley. Subsequently, he lived at Saint Jude's rest home in Unicorn Lane, Eastern Green. In September, 2012, information about attendances at the church up to 1969 was requested from Mr. Jones, and he estimated that the numbers for the Sunday masses were thus: Early mass - 80 or 90, 11 a.m. - 100 - 110, 5 p.m. - 70 - 80. Mr. Jones also used the word "probably".
The above figures might apply to the years beyond 1969 as well.
It is thought that Sunday masses at the church were initially held at 7.30 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. By no later than the beginning of the 1970s, there were Sunday services at 5 p.m.
At one point, Father Boulton also changed the weekday evening holiday of obligation mass times from 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Part three of this parish history also provides information regarding mass times and attendances.
As written in the first part of this historical journey, it might have been when services moved from Sir Henry Parkes school to the church that Saint Joseph the Worker received a substantial input of people from the top end of Canley. It is also possible that it was the time when those who lived outside of Canley began attending services at the church.
The parish had been blessed with some great people who had attended the services at the above school. Irrespective of dates, the aforementioned were joined by newcomers who also had among them those of a similar calibre.
During the period, the congregation remained extensively, not totally, working class. In the context of employment, it is stressed that parishioners were variously at managerial, supervisory and standard employee levels. There were those who worked in offices and factories relevant to local manufacturing industry plus retailing, for examples. Part one of the parish history refers. Additionally, at least one police officer, a policewoman whose surname was Raley and who lived in Sir Henry Parkes Road, attended when masses were held at the school. The person might have continued attending following the move to the church.
In 1966, whether during the time of Father Boulton or his successor, a film show was held at the church, possibly in the evening. There was a motion picture about gangsters, but it had to be stopped because of a technical problem.
Another General Election was held on the 31st of March, 1966. Again, the Labour party was victorious. The writer was informed that Father Boulton had voted Tory.
The above year was also when there was to be the first change of parish priest. Father Boulton was to move to another parish. During the time leading up to his departure, the outgoing priest told the writer that the latter had "been one of [his] best men". Easter Sunday was on the 10th of April, 1966. In the written words of Father Jordan, "no sooner was the temporary church completed at Easter, 1966, [than] Father Boulton was appointed parish priest of St. Philip's, Smethwick".
The second parish priest of Saint Joseph the Worker church was Father John Pinkman, who was to hold the position until 1969. He was possibly in his 30s regarding age, being average to tall in height and of medium build, with a fairly square face, pale complexion and receding brown hair. A medical condition would sometimes result in him yawning while saying mass.
Father Pinkman had a formulaic way of saying the bidding prayers during mass, part of his regular? wording being "console the lonely, protect the homeless" - or possibly the other way round.
Friday evening masses, thought to be at 7 p.m., were held at the church - in 1967, for example - during Father Pinkman's ministry.
Additionally in 1967, the church had an active Legion of Mary. Among its members were Mrs. Street of Merynton Avenue (who emigrated to Perth, Western Australia, during the 1970s), Patricia FitzGerald, who might still have been living in Founder Close, and John Lewis of Westwood Heath Road.
It is also thought that the Union of Catholic Mothers was still flourishing during that time. Its then president was the late Mrs. Alice Hopkins of Freeburn Causeway, the preceding president, the aforementioned Mrs. Eileen Christina King, and her extended family, having moved to Styvechale Avenue, Earlsdon, in 1966. Mrs. Hopkins' husband, the late Mr. Bernard Hopkins, was also active in the life of the parish.
Indeed, it can be opined that, throughout the period up to 1969, the Saint Joseph the Worker parish continued to thrive - but there was to be another change of priest.
In the written words of Father Jordan again, "no sooner had [Father Pinkman] completed a very successful planned giving campaign, which set the parishioners' sights on a future permanent church [than] he was appointed parish priest of Stone in Staffordshire".
The second part of this historical journey is ending, and it is confirmed that Father Bernard Boulton then Father John Pinkman had worked hard regarding the establishment of a new Roman Catholic parish. Those priests' time had passed, but the future did not turn out to be negative.
A golden era was about to begin.
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