Church History

1902: In October, three men met together for Christian fellowship at no 42a St James Road.

1903: Nine members formed the Church in January; Mr W H T Chillman was appointed its first Minister. In June, the original corrugated iron church building was opened on the present corner site - at a cost of £418.

1904: First baptismal service.Ellis

1906: Mr Chillman emigrated to Canada; Rev J J Ellis appointed Minister.

1907: Gas lighting installed.

1909: Rev Ellis resigned over a financial issue - church without Minister for two years.

1910: First wedding, in June: Miss Skeggs of Vicarage Road, to Mr Cook of Markyate.

1911: Rev J S Bruce appointed Minister, at a salary of £2 per week.

1912: Rev Bruce resigned over a dispute about the Baptist Union's Sustention Fund.

1913: Rev W J Willis appointed Minister.

1914: Mr George Walker appointed Co-pastor to assist Rev Willis, who was in frequent demand locally as an Evangelist.

1916: Rev Willis resigned to take up his calling as a missionary to Japan; Rev Walker was affirmed as Minister.

1924: Church assumed oversight of the Baptist Fellowship at Abbots Langley, which it did so for the next ten years. A nucleus of members formed the Holiness Church in Balmoral Road, North Watford.

1926: Electric lighting installed.SJR Minister  Deacons c192030s

1928: The house adjoining the Church, no 7 St James Road, was purchased for £400 and a classroom was built in the back garden.

1929: A year after the event, the Church celebrated its 25th anniversary with a series of special meetings.

1936: A Building Fund was set up to raise money for a new Church building.

1937: Dedication of a new baptistry.

1951: New organ purchased in faith, in anticipation of a new Church building, at a cost of £1,450. Rev George Walker died in spring at the age of 67, just prior to a planned visit to South Africa.

1952: Rev Roy Bell from London Bible College (LBC) appointed new Minister in March. Church purchased house at no 21 St James Road and the adjacent orchard at a cost of £2,400; the house was then used as a Manse.

1954: Again a year after the event, the Church celebrated its Golden Jubilee with a series of special meetings.

1955: A new building was erected on the old orchard site - designed in faith as a Church Hall, but to be used temporarily as the main Church. The original corrugated iron building was then used as a Hall following the opening of the new building in September.

1956: Rev Bell left the Church to take up an appointment at New Brunswick Baptist College, Canada. Rev J C Connell of LBC acted as Moderator.

1957: Rev Norman Archer from LBC appointed Minister.

1961: Planning application submitted to Council for new Church building, but declined.

1962: Rev Archer left the Church for ministry in Canada; Rev Connell again acted as Moderator.

1963: Rev Norman Trussler from LBC appointed Minister. Church celebrated its Diamond Jubilee.

History1964: The Church, again in faith, commissioned Architects to draw up plans for new Church building. Planning application resubmitted, Baptist Union loan granted.

1965: Unconditional Planning Consent granted by Council. The old corrugated iron structure was demolished, and building work commenced on the site in December.

1966: New building, including pipe organ transferred from the 1955 building, completed, and formally opened in December. The 1955 building then became the Church Hall, as originally envisaged.

1973: Rev Trussler retired, Rev Connell acted as Moderator for a third time.

1974: Rev Richard Harbour, latterly of Campus Crusade, Reading, appointed Minister.

1976: Sunday School meetings moved from afternoons to mornings. All loans for new Church building repaid - final cost £38,000.

1978: Structural movement noted at frontage of Church Hall. Church celebrated its 75th anniversary with special services throughout the year. Chaplaincy work at Watford Football Club commenced.

1979: Rev John Boyers from LBC inducted as Assistant Minister. Network of Home Groups initiated. Church approved plans for complete rebuilding of front of Hall; also decided to install central heating and completely refurbish.

1981: Church Hall rebuilding and refurbishment completed at a cost of £25,000.

1983: Two-year experiment for leadership structure approved, providing for appointment of Elders & Deacons. Rev Harbour left to take up ministerial appointment in Manchester; Rev Boyers affirmed as new Senior Minister.

1984: Rev Chris Doig inducted as full-time Assistant Minister.

1985: New Constitution approved, incorporating previously experimental leadership structure. New Elders and Deacons officially appointed.

1986: Church purchased neighbouring fire-damaged house at no 5 Farraline Road at cost of £50,000.

1987: Short-lived experiment of holding parallel morning services in a disused Church in nearby Watford Fields. Rev Doig left to take up a new ministry in Peterborough.

1988: Mr Gareth Morris from LBC appointed full-time Assistant Minister.

1990: Gareth Morris ordained.

1991: Rev Boyers released from Ministry here to pursue call to full-time Sports Chaplaincy (charity formed).

1992: Rev Ray Atwood, latterly of OMF, appointed Minister. Rev Morris left to take up new ministry at Sindlesham Baptist Church, nr Reading.

1996: No 51 St James Road purchased as new Manse at cost of £73,000; former Manse at no 21 sold for £63,000 and 5 Farraline Road sold for £29,000.

1997: No 7 St James Road sold for £64,000. Rev Atwood left to take up wardenship at Stanton House, Oxford; two-year interregnum then followed.

1999: Rev Stephen Harrison, latterly of Old Lodge Lane BC, Purley, appointed Minister.

2000: Mr Dave Pennie from LBC commissioned as full-time Youth Minister. Major redevelopment work undertaken in Church Hall using proceeds from earlier property sales.

2003: Church celebrated its Centenary, with numerous special events and services during the course of the year, including visits from most of its surviving former Ministers.

2006: Ten-strong team from Church spent two weeks working with linked BMS couple in North Africa.

2009: Church celebrates 10 years anniversary of Rev Stephen Harrison as Senior Minister in October.

2012: Rev Stephen Harrison left to take up the post of Chaplain at Douglas & Helen House, Oxford, a hospice for children and young adults.

Mrs Muriel Finerty passed away in January. We celebrated our 110 years aniversary on Sunday 20 October.

2014: Dave Pennie concluded his ministry in April.

2014: Rev Alice McDermott ordained and inducted as sole Pastor.