Anne Forrest receives a floral arrangement from Rev Dr Elijah Obinna, aided by members of the Youth Church
Anne Forrest recently retired from her role spearheading CHOICES since its inception in 1993. At morning worship on Sunday, 14 April 2019, Session Clerk, Glenn Walker, gave a glowing tribute to her work and she was presented with a floral arrangement and gift in recognition of her many years of service to the community.
In 1993, when St John's was celebrating 150 years as a worshipping community, CHOICES shop was opened in Hamilton Street. The Guild and Pastoral Care Committee of the Kirk Session had been praying for a way to take the church out of this building and serve the community. One of the people central to this initiative was Anne. She felt that she was being told to do something with clothes. That thought developed into an idea for a shop offering good quality second hand clothes for sale and so CHOICES was born.
Anne headed the planning of this enterprise and eventually six local churches have become involved, helping to staff and support the operation of the shop with up to 100 helpers on the staff rota. Anne has become synonymous with CHOICES as manager over those 26 years being intimately involved with all facets of the day-to-day affairs.
Countless people in Carluke have benefitted as customers not only because of a useful purchase but also through the caring service offered by the shop volunteers. In addition, the sums raised through sales have benefitted local and international charities and good causes to a very significant degree. The major beneficiary has been the Street Level project which has received a total of £472,100 over the years. That money has ensured the continuance of a valued service to the young people of Carluke. Christian Aid, Clydesdale Foodbank, the Gala Day and many other charities have also been supported. In total £555,665 has been dispersed to good causes. Quite a phenomenal achievement!
In concluding his tribute Glenn, on behalf of the congregation and people of Carluke, expressed thanks to Anne for all she has done in Christ's name and wished her a happy (second) retirement.