Invent

Church History


The Story so far…

…On the 8th April 1752 Soham Baptist Church was founded by six local men; the early meetings being held in a wooden thatched barn in Brook Dam Lane. Within two months 19 new converts had been baptised and by the September of that first year the membership of 25 believers called their first Pastor.

Andrew Fuller

In 1770 a sixteen year old named Andrew Fuller was converted and baptised in the local river. At that time baptismal services were held either very late at night or at 3 o’clock in the morning due to the disruption that some of the local people would cause. Five years later, at the age of 21, Andrew Fuller became the second pastor of Soham Baptist Church which by that time had 47 members.

It was during a period of much time spent in study that Fuller’s theological convictions were developed and these were later published under the title “The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation”. This work made a profound impact on the church of Fuller’s day and laid the theological framework for the modern missions’ movement.

There was much sadness when in 1782 Andrew Fuller was called by God to leave Soham in order to pastor a church in Kettering. Subsequently, he and William Carey were to form what became known as the Baptist Missionary Society; widely recognised as the first ‘modern’ missionary society.

The Chapel in Clay Street

The following year back in Soham, the church vacated their hired barn and erected a building of steelwork, clay and thatch on the present chapel site in the middle of the town.

It is true to say that there were some difficult periods in the church’s history. Indeed, by around 1810 things had got so low that it was left to the remaining nine determined members to call a Pastor and re-establish the church work.

By 1831 the congregation had increased sufficiently to contemplate the building of the present chapel which was opened in 1832 at a cost of £300. Congregations increased to 250 and the two side galleries had to be added in 1841 at a cost of a further £98. The east wing was added during the next few years.

During this period it is interesting to note that the Annual General Meetings were always held on Christmas Day, with the rest of the day devoted to worship. Sufficient to say, this tradition is no longer observed.

Recent History

More recently, Soham Baptist Church took the step in 1984 to link up with the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), with whom we remain affiliated. Richard Underwood, the current Pastoral Director of FIEC (previously General Secretary), was Pastor of this church for 11 years before taking up his role in November 2004.

Very early in the life of this Church there was an interest in “mission”, largely through the influence of Andrew Fuller. It continues to be an important part of the church’s life as we look to respond to the “Great Commission” of Matthew 28. As well as our commitment to local evangelism, we currently support both western missionaries and national workers in Malawi, Liberia, Latvia, Eastern Europe and the Far East. We currently devote 20% of our income to our ‘World Vision’.

In September 2006 a new chapter in the history of the church began with the calling of Colin Stringer to be the next Pastor. That chapter of course is still being written.

When this Church was founded the population of Soham was scarcely 1,500. Today the figure is well over 10,000.

Outside & Inside ‘Soham Baptist’ today

In 2012 the fellowship was able to undertake a significant programme of modernisation works to improve the comfort, flexibility and functionality of the facilities. The main auditorium is now a flexible meeting meeting space with a removable platform, flexible comfortable seating, and AV provision. These changes, in conjunction with a significantly improved tea bar, and conveniences now able us to meet the needs of the fellowship and its broad spectrum of activities within the building on Clay Street.

Soham Baptist Church

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