Earlier this year, Skelton Methodist Community Church welcomed the Revd Ruth Gee (Chair of Cleveland and Danby Circuit) to conduct their morning service. During the service Revd Gee presented a Certificate to Mr Bob Brunger to mark his forthcoming fifty years of unbroken service to the Methodist community as a Local Preacher.
Like so many others during the 1950s, Bob found his way into the Methodist Church via Sunday School and Youth Club. His early days were with the old Zion Chapel at Carlin How. He was, he says, drawn by the inspiration and dedication of the teachers and leaders; “though the young ladies were an added attraction!” This was confirmed some years later when he married Margaret, another teenage member.
His ‘Call to Preach’ can be traced back to the mid 50’s; at first it was simply an invitation to announce hymns and read lessons at Sunday Services. He recalls rather embarrassing week-day rehearsals, on public display, in the car showroom of the former Stonehouse’s Garage. After a combination of practical experience in the local chapels, followed by the required study course (conducted by correspondence), he passed his examination and became fully accredited in March 1965.
Bob says he has lost count of the number of sermons preached but it must be well over a thousand. He still conducts the occasional service today but is also fully involved in helping to establish the relocated Methodist Church on Castle Grange, Skelton Green.