Saturday, 15 January 2011

Crowmoor ,Claremont -Shrewsbury Baptist church

I said in my earlier post on John Palmer that while the history of Baptists in Shrewsbury was not always glorious, there were exciting and encouraging times.

In 1956 under the leadership of Eric Hayden, Claremont Baptist Church made the inspired decision to start work on the Crowmoor housing estate
The work began and by 1958 the church had its own premises in which it began children's work initially and then Sunday evening services towards the end of the same year.
In the early years Crowmoor was supported by 3 missionaries in training and a deaconess (much the same work as  a minister but less pay!) .the work appeared to thrive and was one of the first in the area to hold a holiday club in 1962.
 I write cautiously here ,because it is in living memory, but I have been told that in the 60's and early 70's  the work at Crowmoor became less of a priority for the Claremont Church.- it would have been no surprise then that the church became independent in 1976.
Ron Lycett became lay pastor. I met him recently and his faith and comittment and passion for the gospel is as strong as ever. I remember worshipping at the church in about 1977 and it was a dynamic experience if a little scary for a young Christian!

Whether influenced by Ron or not the church was powerfully affected  by the charismatic movement ,which transformed the church. In 1977 there were 27 baptisms and in 1979 another 20 ,in 1983 20 more.this was a period of exciting and sustained growth the church grew to 143 members and now had a very different ethos to the church at Claremont which had become more traditional in practice  and reformed in doctrine.
The 1958 building was was too small and the church made the bold decision to meet in the centre of town at the Music Hall among other places.

Then the church made the decision to divide in two One part returned to Crowmoor and one part continued as Barnabas fellowship.This division appears to have been entirely amicable and indeed Barnabas church (now part of New Frontiers) has grown and  thrived and flourished and planted churches

The church that returned to Crowmoor built a great new building but just as it opened there were defections from the church which made paying for it a struggle

Perhaps all of this helps me understand the reason Shrewsbury Baptist Church has in its DNA  a powerful desire to work both in the centre of town and in the Monkmoor area

This is our God given vision, the name of the church may change (or rather revert) to Shrewsbury Baptist Church but the wonderful thing is that the work of building the Kingdom goes on!

No comments:

Post a Comment