At the end of November, we joined with several other churches from across our town for a Shared Service as we all celebrate significant anniversaries - Christchurch (50), St Faith’s (125), Walsworth Road Baptist (150), and Tilehouse Street Baptist (350) !
At this service, we shared our short history and wanted to share it here too - we've also included a photo of the artwork - outlines of hands from people at the anniversary churches.
WRBC - A Short Story
The Great Northern Railway reached Hitchin with the very first train arriving on 7 August
1850. Richard Johnson, chief engineer for GNR, gifted some prime land from his personal
property in the town for a Railway Mission to be established to serve the population of
railway employees; this soon became Walsworth Road Baptist Church, formally constituted
With numbers quickly growing, the current church building was completed in 1874, and the
quality of the build as well as the design and engineering (which includes the largest
unsupported roof-space possible at the time) has been much appreciated ever since.
The current Church Hall premises replaced the tin-clad mission hall in 1914, and the link
building creating a common entrance to the church premises was constructed in 2008.
Amongst the ministers who have served across the years, in 1954 a young man called Sam
Stone was called as pastor straight from theological college and ministerial preparation at
Bristol Baptist College. His ministry across the following four decades, until his retirement,
was much appreciated for his pastoral care and his preaching.
In 2002 after a 3-year vacancy, our current pastor was called from a Baptist church in
Swansea - and Andrew is now the longest-serving minister among the Hitchin churches.
During these past 17 years the church has developed an appreciated and trusted ministry at the heart of the community, including coordinating a Christmas Shoebox project (around
12,000 shoeboxes in 15 years), and most recently ecobricks! Interests beyond the local
have also been enriching, including a twinning relationship with Tur’an Baptist in Israel, and
links with churches and mission projects in Albania, Kosova, and Italy as well as medical
training and agriculture in Laos, church-planting in India and healthcare for special needs
children in Thailand.
With a deepening prayer life, as a local congregation enriched by members from many nations, and now with part-time youthworker Helen and churchworker Janet employed alongside our pastor Andrew, we are WRBC, and we are in good heart as we prepare for our 151 st year of worship and witness, and as - for the good of this wonderful town and for the cause of the Gospel of Jesus - we pledge ourselves with other churches before God as being ‘here to bless’!
The artwork created (by our minister) of hand outlines from members at other churches