The church’s origins go back to 1922, when members of Winner Street Baptist Church, Paignton and Upton Vale Baptist Church, Torquay met in Preston to look for a suitable site on which to build a new church in what was a developing district within Torbay. They found a plot on offer for £2,000 – a substantial sum in those days but one which, in faith, they believed they could raise. And so it proved! The first building was opened on 30th November 1927 and was called 'The Institute'. It was deliberately erected to one side of the land acquired in order to allow for the later construction of a larger and more substantial worship centre. This building is still part of the church complex and is now used as our main hall.
The second project was the building of a manse – the name given to describe a minister’s home. The stone-laying ceremony for this substantial four-bedroomed house with two reception rooms, took place in 1930. Following this, and to cope with the demands of a growing Sunday School, a wooden building was put up behind the church.
By 1939 the church members had raised two-thirds of the funds needed for the creation of the main church building. In August of that year there was great rejoicing when the stone-laying ceremony took place. Construction continued even though the country was at war, and the new building was officially opened on 1st May 1940.
Since that time several further additions have been made. These included, in 1974, a second hall at the rear of the premises from funds given by Ethel Webber in memory of her sister Elsie Doidge. A coffee lounge and offices were also added, with all the rooms linked together in one complex.
In 2008 a major refurbishment of the entrance area was completed and a café was built alongside the reception area. The Garden Café now serves as a modern internet café for the church and community, which is open every weekday morning.
Across the years the church has appointed a number of ministers to help lead the mission of the church. They are listed here:
|1929 - 1935||Revd W. J. Phillips|
|1935 - 1945||Revd Howard R. Johnston|
|1946 - 1960||Revd Bernard Mason|
|1961 - 1966||Revd John R. Blanshard|
|1967 - 1970||Revd Ian Mallard|
|1970 - 1973||Revd Gwilyan Williams|
|1974 - 1981||Revd Peter Lorkin|
|1982 - 1986||Revd Michael Newell|
|1987 - 1996||Revd John Quinn|
|1997 - 2002||Revd Jez Brown|
|1998 - 2005||Revd Simon Wheeler|
|2006 - 2015||Revd Rob Sylvester|
|2006 - 2015||Revd Lorna Sylvester|
|2015 -||Revd Jez Brown|
In recent years a number of old minute books recording both deacons meetings and church meetings have been discovered. These provide a fascinating insight into the day to day life of the church over the past 90 years!
Earliest records currently available reveal that the membership in 1937 stood at 81. This gradually grew until the record of 178 members was achieved in 1963. Our Membership currently stands at 119, and our hope and prayer is that God will bless and increase our membership in the years to come.