Church History




On 25 August 1822, nine people met together to worship God and form a church at Bell Court, Much Park Street, Coventry.

Whitefriars Lane Chapel (1825-1869)

The numbers attending increased and on 24 April 1825, they commenced services in Whitefriars Lane, Coventry in a chapel they had built. The congregation soon outgrew the building and under the ministry of the Rev. Henry Cross decided to purchase land in Gosford Street, near to the city centre.

Gosford Street Baptist Church (1869 -1950)

The new chapel was built and the congreagation moved with great gladness and thanks to God into Gosford Street Baptist Chapel on 4th May 1869. The work grew steadily and with the increase in population of the city, the pressure for additional accomodation for the work amongst young people resulted in the decision by the members to celebrate the cententary of the founding of the church by erecting a building on the remainder of the land at the rear of the premises of the church to accomodate 300 people.

The foundation stone of this new building (which is still preserved in the Joseph Richards room at Meredith Road) was laid by Dr. John Clifford on 26 August 1922. The provision of this room greatly assisted the work of the Rev. William Gayton during his ministry between 1922-26 when the membership was over 300, with more than 600 on the roll of the Sunday School and Bible classes, while it was fully used during the week for Guides, Scouts, gymnasium and football clubs. The work continued under the ministries of the Rev F R Conibear (1927-32) and Rev. William Reece (1932-39) During the second world war a bomb exploded on 20 October 1940 in the church rendering the building unsafe. The church was without a minister at this time, and unable to worship at the church on that Sunday the congregation joined St.Michael’s Baptist church near the Cathedral. The congregation were welcomed by the pastor Rev Joseph Richards and they formed a joint congregation for three Sundays until on 14 November 1940 St. Michael’s was completely destroyed by bombs and fire. Faced with this tragedy, the Rev J Richards and his wife decided they would stay and minister to the joint congregation.

In spite of the loss of some members killed in the air raid, others injured and evacuated, about 40 members of the two churches gathered for worship at a room in Queen’s Road Baptist Church. After strenuous effort, one room at Gosford Street was made usable and not withstanding the war conditions worship services were maintained. The fellowship under God’s blessing was so warm and real that in March 1945 before the end of the war, it was resolved by the members of the two joint churches that a building fund should be started to obtain two new sites in the city to replace those lost. This was a step of faith and by May 1947 two new sites had been purchased with the help of the Baptist Union, at Quinton Park, Cheylesmore (to replace St. Michael’s) and Meredith Road, Wyken (to replace Gosford Street).

The Rev J Richards was the pastor of the joint congregation (Gosford Saint Michael’s Baptist Church) whilst the new churches were being built. As a temporary arrangement on Sundays the congregation started meeting at either Cheylesmore Community Centre or Ravensdale School in Wyken. The Rev J Richards saw a church hall erected on each site before he died on 17 February 1954 which are a visible tribute to his work for the Lord. The members resolved to follow their original plan and as from 30 September 1954 to become independent churches with members agreeing to come on the roll of the church nearest their homes and to attend there, irrespective of which church they were originally members.

Meredith Road Baptist Church (1950-Present)

The first building to be opened at Meredith Road was the Church Hall on 14 January 1950 to which was added the Garlick Room on 1 December 1956 (named after a faithful member at Gosford Street) to meet the increasing pressure of the work amongst young people under the first minister of Meredith Road , the Rev E Bryn-Jones (1955-59). He was followed by the Rev Richard Garrett (1960-66) during whose ministry the planning of the new Church building and Joseph Richards room began. These were opened on 19 October 1968 enabling the Church to start Family Worship services under the Rev David Beer who concluded five years of fruitful ministry in January 1972. Family Worship services led to a larger congregation and an increase in numbers attending Junior Church so that a further building to accommodate these and growing activities of the church was required. The Rev Maurice Markham of Spurgeon’s College was inducted as Pastor on 9 September 1972 in the 150th year of the church.

The seventies and eighties were a period of numerical growth, with the church completely filled on a Sunday morning. A growing number of people were living in the nearby village of Binley Woods, which had no church of its own. Increasingly they felt God giving them a vision for a Christian witness within the village. This led finally to the planting of a church jointly with St Bartholomew’s, the local Anglican Church, starting in 1984. At around this time another group of members, who lived in the Coundon area of the city felt called by God to worship at Lawrence Saunders Road Baptist church, which was at a low ebb. One of them was subsequently invited to become the lay pastor. The church has grown considerably and embarked on an ambitious building project a number of years ago.

During this same period the church was also increasingly influenced by the emphasis on rediscovering the person and power of the Holy Spirit known as the “Charismatic Movement”. In its growing openness to the Spirit it embraced things such as house groups, shared leadership with elders as well as deacons, a much freer form of worship and the healing ministry. It also found the need to add to its staff, and different people served in a part- or full-time capacity from 1983, culminating in the appointment of a full-time Associate Pastor in 2004. He had special responsibility for service and outreach to the community, and the church premises have been opened up more and more for this purpose. The church has also run a rolling programme of Alpha courses for the last twelve years, as a result of which a good number of people have come to faith and to baptism. Its work among children and young people has remained consistently strong during this whole time. The Rev Maurice Markham retired after 37 years of faithful service in July 2009. Ian Burton, who had joined as Associate in 2004, took over as Pastor.

Following Ian Burton's departure in March 2014 to work for Mission Direct, the church sought a new Minister and on 1st October, Rev. Mike Asbery was appointed.