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. (facebook page set up by Alice)

2020: Alice moves to full time chaplaincy for the RAF. (Follow Alice on twitter and blipfoto)

2023: Rev Andrew Gale joins as sole Pastor to help us reach out to the local community. Pastor's page on facebook set up by Andrew. He also produces thought for the day on youtube).