History of Feilding Baptist Church
On Monday afternoon, February 1st, 1904, the Rev E. Richards, of Palmerston North, paid a visit to Feilding to ascertain the desirability or otherwise of forming a Baptist Church here. Several Baptists were visited who expressed their interest in the matter and their willingness to join the Church if formed. The result of this was that a meeting was arranged and held about a week later followed by several more meetings. It was finally decided to send a deputation to the Central Auxiliary meeting of the NZ Baptist Union in New Plymouth in May to find out whether they would be willing to assist the movement.
The matter was taken up very heartily by the Auxiliary and on a promise of help being given it was decided to start services immediately.
The several Churches belonging to the Central Auxiliary guaranteed to finance the cause until it should be taken over by the Union.
The first meeting was held at Mrs Shearer's home on June 5th, 1904. The opening service was held on the following Sunday, June 12th, conducted by the Rev. E. Richards in the Assembly Rooms which had been engaged for a period of 12 months at a rental of 10/- per Sunday.
There were 17 people present in the morning, and 23 in the evening.
On October 22nd, 1904, a Sunday School was started with eight scholars and that number was doubled the following Sunday. Mr Alfred Eade was appointed Superintendent.
At the Baptist Union meetings held in Dunedin in November two men were appointed to visit Feilding and report. Their report not only secured financial support from the Union, but also the Unions endorsement and sanction.
The Rev A. Dewdney was asked to conduct the Anniversary Services on June 11th, 1905. At a Communion Service on that date the Rev J. J. North, as President of the Baptist Union, gave the right hand of fellowship to the 20 people who were forming the Church.
The first Church members' meeting was held on July 3rd, 1905, at Mrs Shearer's home, with 12 members present.
In July, 1905, a fire occurred at the Assembly Hall, and services were transferred to the Drill Hall. This building proved unsuitable, so efforts were put forth to obtain a Church building.
At first, Svendsen's rooms, above their shop, were used - a nominal charge only being made for the gas used. The Baptist Union stipulated that the sum of £231 be raised locally before they could sanction any Church building being erected.
The levelling of the present site was undertaken in 1906, and the records speak of 100 dray loads of filling being carted in at 2/- a load.
By 1911 the membership was 35, with an additional seven country members.
In 1934 Mr Page became the Minister, and during his ministry the Church decided to purchase a manse in Denbigh Street. Due to Mr Page's foresight and "drive", the Sunday School Hall, (formerly the old Stanway Public School) was also purchased and this did service until the new Sunday School Hall was built in 1950.
In 1941 the Girls' Life Brigade was established, with Mrs Carlisle as the first Captain. This was the war period when the work was considerably affected by the presence in Feilding of several hundred soldiers occupying the schools and in camps. Our Church took its fair share in providing for the spiritual needs of the visiting servicemen. After-Church suppers saw some happy hours spent, with sing-songs and helpful fellowship.
In 1949 we secured a Jubilee Loan for £300 to help with the erection of the new Sunday School hall, which cost approximately £1450. The conversion of the old Sunday School building into four classrooms was undertaken in 1951 and this cost over £200.
In May 1991 the old church building was advertised for sale and was sold, and removed to a new country residence.
Early the previous year a working committee was set up to research church building options for the future, bring a considered recommendation and then see the project through to conclusion. Various options were considered including re-modelling of the existing buildings, removing the existing building and rebuilding on site or selling the site and either building or buying an existing building elsewhere.
The congregation had committed to rebuild on the existing site. As the new auditorium was built onto the front of the existing Hall structure, the revamped interface of the two would also result in a new kitchen, hall access and toilet block.
A new Worship and Ministry Centre. On Queen's Birthday weekend, 1992, the key was turned in the front door as we celebrated the official opening of a fine new facility.
On 20th January and 21st February 2011 the church was targeted by an arsonist. After the January fire, it was unclear whether the church hall would be salvageable, while the auditorium was also damaged. The February fire further damaged the building and destroyed the hall. See our photo gallery here.
In May 2013 the church opened their new facilities, including a multipurpose hall, two activity rooms, and a new meeting room.
Ministers of Feilding Baptist Church
1905 - 1906 R. W. Cameron
1906 - 1910 Pastor Swinerd
1910 - 1912 Rev G. Cule
1912 - 1914 Rev A. Anstice
1914 - 1917 Rev E. Nicols
1917 - 1929 Rev E. Gardiner
1929 - 1934 Rev S. Gilbert
1934 - 1938 Rev H. Page
1939 - 1944 Rev B. Carlisle
1944 Rev A. Anstice (Relieving)
1945 - 1949 Rev R. Hoffman
1949 - 1953 Rev C. Latta
1955 - 1959 Rev M. Reid
1961 - 1967 Rev P. Blackman
1968 - 1970 Rev D. Long
1971 - 1975 Rev D. Hood
1976 - 1981 Rev S. Bucknell
1982 - 1989 Rev B. Walker
1990 - 1999 Rev P. Murch
2001 - 2006 Rev D. Jensen
2007 - 2013 Rev A. Hince
2015 - 2016 Rev R. Scoones (interim)
2016 - Rev M. Baldwin