Headington Baptist Church

Headington Baptist Church

Closer view of Headington Baptist Church

Entrance to Headington Baptist Church

Headington Baptist Church
Photographs taken on Sunday 5 November 2006,
its first day back in service

News release from the church, 7 November 2006

Church Celebrates Opening of £1M+ New Building

On Saturday 4th November over 10 years of praying, planning and giving reached its climax with the opening of the new Baptist Church in Old High Street, Headington. Construction of the £1M+ building started in April 2005, but the vision for a building to meet the needs of the 21st century came long before.

Dr John Coyle, Finance Director for the building project explained, “It was obvious in the mid-1990s that our building was rapidly becoming unsuitable for our requirements. At first we weren’t sure whether we should modify and extend what we already had, move to a new site or stay where we were but with a brand-new building. As we thought and prayed about the options it became very clear that a new building on the existing site was the right way forward.”

Designed by David Grindley Architects of Milton Keynes, the new building is contemporary in design, but with a recognition that it is in the heart of a conservation area. Rob Sproule, Project Leader for the new building commented, “We wanted the building to provide the space and resources we need not only now but in the years to come. David has done a magnificent job in making the most of our site in a building that is beautiful and practical and yet sympathetic to its surroundings.” The building was constructed by Kingerlee Ltd of Kidlington. Rob Sproule said, “Kingerlee have worked in partnership with the architect and the representatives of the congregation to take the design brief and construct a building that has met with widespread acclaim from those who have already seen it.”

Although the church congregation of 140 has had some financial support from charitable trusts, it is raising over 95% of the cost itself. Revd James Bloice Smith, minister of the church said, “I am both humbled and amazed at the way that a congregation of ordinary people, many with young families, has caught the vision of what we’re doing and has continued to give at sacrificial levels over several years. We now have now raised over £500,000 through the gifts of these people. The balance is being covered by loans. The commitment of our congregation is such that I am confident we shall be able to clear these within ten years.”

Members of the church are holding an Open Day on Saturday 11 November between 10am and 4pm when they will give conducted tours of the new building. Visitors will be able to see displays about the history of the church and its current programme. There will also be activities for children. Light refreshments will be available throughout the day.

Reflecting on the opening services on 4 November, James Bloice Smith said, “These were great days of celebration and praise to God for what’s been achieved. Although we’re delighted to be back home, I don’t think any of us regard this as an end. It’s actually the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the life of Headington Baptist Church when, with God’s help, we want to be able to witness to and serve our community even more effectively than we have done in the past.”

The history of Headington Baptist Church

Headington Baptist Church website

Oxford Mail

© Stephanie Jenkins


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