What is our story

The Church in Coventry before 1723

Queen's Road Baptist Church, Coventry claims a continuous history in the city that dates from 1643 - during the English Civil War. At that time, even though Coventry's two parish churches both had Puritan ministers, some of their members wanted a more biblical style of church - made up of born-again Christian believers, covenanted together. From this, there arose the issue of baptism for believers, and also the question of the way in which ministers were to be chosen and supported. Hence, a new "Baptized Church of Christ" arose.

At that time, Coventry was the largest and most radical town in the Midlands, and already had a different sort of Baptist congregation that dated back to 1626, but died out around 1760. (Some church histories  mistakenly traced the origin of Queen's Road Baptist Church to that time).

During the persecution of Nonconformists in the 1660s when Charles II regained the throne, our church was not large. For years to come, it met in homes, often under the wing of Baptist churches elsewhere in the Midlands.

Jordan Well and Cow Lane

Its first "meeting-house" (since demolished) was built in Jordan Well in 1723 (left), from which time church minute books survive. (Church records are deposited at the Coventry City Record Office.)  It was John Butterworth, minister 1753-1803, who saw the church grow and move to a larger chapel in Cow Lane (below) also now demolished; near today's New Union Street).

 

In the 1840s the church adopted its present statement for members to sign, in place of an older Calvinistic covenant: "I hereby sign myself a humble follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a member of his Church".
 

With Francis Franklin , minister 1798-1852, came many features of early 19th century evangelical nonconformity:
Preaching in nearby villages - the Baptist churches now at Lenton's Lane and Attleborough resulted.
A Sunday School, started in 1801.
A concern for further education. Franklin's daughters ran a school for young women, one pupil becoming the novelist George Eliot.

 

 

Early 20th Century

As Coventry grew, the church - now led by William Henderson - grew too. He had worked as an evangelist after his conversion to Christ, and the church moved its worship services to the present building in Queen's Road in 1884. (The document which amounts to being the founding document of the new Chapel and other facilities is available to view by clicking here).

A deacon who was also a builder, John Worwood, saw to the new chapel - with its moveable central pulpit, gallery, 800 seats, and tower... the organ came later! Henderson, and three of his successors, went on to teach theology in various colleges, while Queen's Road attracted people prominent in Coventry industries (watch-making, silk-weaving, and so on).

 

The church continued to be popular! There was the need to put extra chairs in the aisles on Sunday evenings in the 1920s; and in 1936 Queens Road established a church plant in Hearsall.

 

The minister from 1931 to 1943, Ingli James, influenced many young people to live out their faith in Christ in a concern for the needy, in renouncing war and a narrow patriotism, and in campaigning for political programmes of social justice and welfare (the heritage of this time is still with us in the church's present concerns for issues of peace and justice). During the Depression, the church used and funded a nearby house as a centre for the unemployed. A significant number of members were conscientious objectors when wartime conscription came.

The Recent Past

In the 1960s, the morning congregations grew and the evening ones declined, to about 250 each. The Sunday School in the afternoon became Young Worshippers during the morning service. A famous Youth Club on Saturday nights, run by the minister Richard Hamper and others, had a membership of hundreds at the height of the success of "open youth clubs".

After 1980, David Spriggs brought various evangelistic endeavours to the church's programme, often in co-operation with other churches - for example, Mission England with Billy Graham in 1984. A prayer ministry for healing began, the mid-week service was exchanged for a dozen house groups across the city, and more informal worship on Sunday evenings reversed the trend of declining numbers.

The mid 1990s saw Mike Fuller as Senior Minister and then seeing in the new Millennium and upto the end of 2007 Grenville Overton was Ministry Team leader. He presided over the extension and refurbishment of the church premises and many other developments to make the church more relevant for the 21st Century.

Following periods of ministry by Keith Neville and Keith Parr, we reach the point where we are today with Graham Banks joining us as our minister in November 2016. The Spirit of God continues his work today and you are welcome to join us as we grow together as disciples of Jesus!