C.H. Spurgeon, church history and the building
A Baptist congregation was established in St. Peter Port [wiki] through the ministry of ministers who had trained at the Pastor’s college in London under the ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 – 92). The church’s formation commenced on 6 June 1888 with nine founder members.
Initially the church met at a recently closed Anglican proprietary chapel, All Saints Chapel. C. H. Spurgeon himself visited the Island in July 1889 to preach for the new church. In one day he conducted a 7am prayer meeting, preached at 11am, 3pm and 7pm and also spoke on the lawn of the Old Government House Hotel.
He took three services for which attendance was by ticket. A thousand tickets were issued for each of three services but over nine thousand applied – a large proportion of the then Island population.
Spurgeon enthused about his visit in The sword and the Trowel:
“What a week we had in Guernsey! Crowds to welcome us and crowds to say “Farewell”! Friendship in Christ is sweet. Wesleyan friends lent us their finest chapel and were with us in the services; in fact believers of all sort were fervent in the gospel. It was a week of strong excitement and it called forth on all our strength and brought down fresh power from on high.”
Following Spurgeon’s visit the church grew under a series of short-term “entrepreneurial” ministries from the Pastor’s college but the work was yet to be truly established. On 27th November 1893 John Gard, one of the last batch of students to be admitted by Spurgeon himself to his college was appointed as minister. He was to minister for over twenty seven years.
Following a search for a more permanent location Pastor Gard found a suitable site for a New Chapel close to the centre of town. The church accepted plans drawn up by Alfred Pippard, a Baptist carpenter and joiner from Yeovil. The foundation stone was laid on March 23rd 1899 by the Rev. John Gard at the request of Mrs C.H. Spurgeon. The inscription included the words “To the glory of God and in perpetual remembrance of C. H. Spurgeon", together with the text “The just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38 and Habakkuk 2:4)
The work continues today under the ministry of Pastor John Ogier who was recognised in this ministry by the Rev. Grenville Overton at an induction service held on Sunday evening 29th January 2009. The service was also attended by other church leaders including town Anglican vicars, representatives of Shiloh Baptist Church and members of the brethren gathering of Cobo Mission Hall. Three years later, there was special dedication service also attended by Rev. Grenville Overton for the new front extension to the church, that includes the feature of the eagle depicted in Isaiah 40v31 in stained glass in the front entrance. Songs of celebration were sung by the local Vauvert school choir at this event.
The theme of “raised on eagles wings” from Isaiah 40v31 pointed to ministry of the Lord Jesus who comes in the Spirit of the Lord “To preach the gospel to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised.”
We seek to fulfil this ministry and work in the 21st century as we wait on God, worship together, share the gospel and seek to serve the local community.
We are linked with a number of mission and ministry organisations, notably PACE ministry in schools, services at a local care home “Summerlands”, a town food bank service. Internationally we support the Tumaini Fund led by Dr. Sue Wilson providing a life saving and life changing work for over twenty thousand aides victims in Kagera Tanzania and Goal50 a Christian ministry to those caught up in gang culture in South Africa led by Nigel Pascoe. Full details of the ministries and missions supported by the church can be found on our Mission Ministry page.
We continue the link with Charles Haddon Spurgeon through our participation in the Baptist Union, the importance we give to Bible based preaching and our support for Spurgeon’s children’s home at our Christmas services.
Thank you for taking an interest in our church. Please do get in touch with us we would love to hear from you.
Useful links from the article above:
Image below taken by Werner Wilsenach, property of photographer & Spurgeon Church, Guernsey ©2014.