CHURCH of ENGLAND WORKING MEN'S SOCIETY.
A Yalding branch of this society was formed in 1888, and within a few months of its formation a banner had been produced and taken by 14 members to the Annual Festival of County Branches at Rochester Cathedral, held on Saturday July 25th. The initial committee members were Mr Robert Smith, President; Mr Robert Chantler, Secretary and Treasurer; plus Messrs. R Jones, W Longley, R Prebble, W Tidy and H Waters.
One of main responsibilities of members was to be on a rotor of duties for Sunday services, and for fellowship to partake in social events which included an annual outing often to the popular resort of Hastings. On August 1st Bank Holiday Monday 1898, they left Yalding at 7.30, and thanks to the excellent arrangements of Station Master Mr Whittaker had a very comfortable journey at the modest cost of 3s per head, paid for by general subscriptions. The following year they went to Ramsgate and Margate.
A meeting was held in the Parish Room to re-organise the society on Thursday March 10th 1904 but that was the last public mention. One concludes that the function continued but that members felt no need for a formal group.
This group was formed in 1893 to encourage confirmation, and through fellowship that they would lead a Christian life and attend communion at least once in two months. Members usually met on the last Thursday of each month, except at Easter when they would meet on Maunday Thursday as a preparation for Easter. They were especially exhorted to be present at Easter, but reminded that a year of steady consistent participation in the means of grace is better than a rush and an impulse on a special occasion.
Their Secretary in 1898, Miss Evelyn Norton encouraged various activities. In that year they made clothes that were sent to Bethnal Green for special needs, such as patients of a convalescent home. It was also proposed to send more clothes for sale at a Mothers' Meeting in that London parish of St. Bartholomew's, and if a charge of 6d each was made then a small sum of maybe £2 could be realised. The Secretary advanced this sum herself so that two poor married couples could come down to stay for a week's rest at the Nazareth Home of Rest along the Lees on June 25th that year. On Thursday November 24th that same year the Guild held its Anniversary Service, which because of the weather conditions only 30 members attended. Items discussed were the clothing produced, the formation of a prayer union, and a Guild Choir.
In 1903 the Guild provided the church and all newly-confirmed with Prayer and Hymn-books. That year when Miss Norton left the village, Mrs Williams of Cleaves House consented to be Secretary and Treasurer.
At a confirmation service on Thursday April 5th 1906 in our parish church , 59 candidates were presented to the Bishop of Rochester, plus 31 from Hunton and East Peckham. On March 26th 1908 a further 80 candidates were confirmed, in 1913 on November 30th a further 48, and so the pattern was repeated. In 1917 of over 100 candidates presented, 89 were from Yalding, but as the years proceeded, the Guild