The History of Guildford Baptist Church

Guildford Baptist Church dates back to its first beginnings in 1824, when a group of ‘Calvinist Dissenters’ began to meet in a room in Quarry Street. By the mid-nineteenth century, this facility proved too small, and a new chapel was built on Commercial Road, which was later extended as more land was bought. All of this activity was financed by the church members as, through faith, the work of the Church expanded.
From the early 1960’s it was recognised that a new Church would have to be built. David Pawson’s arrival in 1968 heralded another period of growth in the Church, as he had a unique gift as a preacher of the Gospel. A Town Development Plan of that time proposed that the area that the Church was built on should be compulsorily purchased, and so plans were drawn up and approved for a new church. The new Millmead Centre was opened in 1972, comprising a 500-seat auditorium, meeting rooms, offices, a games hall and coffee bars. The most notable feature of the building is this 500-seat auditorium with raked seats, which enables everyone to have a good view of the dais and pulpit.

After David Pawson's departure in 1981 to take up a wider itinerant ministry, Bob Roxburgh, assisted by Justin Dennison, became pastoral leader, and the Church experienced more growth which led to the formation of two morning services.

In 1990 Peter Nodding took over as senior minister and over the next few years three congregations in the Boxgrove, Onslow Village and Stoughton areas of Guildford were planted out of the Millmead Centre, meeting in local schools. As more and more people from overseas came to Guildford to study and to work, the Church took on a more international flavour with members from all parts of the globe.

The current Pastoral Leader, Ian Stackhouse, arrived in March 2004 from the King’s Church, Amersham. One of the church plants was commissioned in September 2005 to be an independent church, New Life Baptist Church, which has recently moved into new premises at the QE Park Centre in Railton Road.

In March 2012, Guildford Baptist Church celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the Millmead Centre, and plans are now well under way for the refurbishment of the building for the 21st century.  

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