History of Brabourne Baptist Church (opened in 1818)
At the end of 1814, members of the Baptist Church in Ashford wanted to ‘take the Gospel Message into the villages.’
At the time there was an unoccupied army bakehouse in Brabourne, which was offered as a place of worship (rent free) and this was accepted as a Sabbath School.
In January 1815, the school and place of worship was opened. Twelve children were present and about 50 people attended the afternoon service. By the end of the first year, there was a school of 90 children and eleven teachers. Work progressed, and by 1816 Government land was being sold by auction. Despite many difficulties, the committee purchased the land on which the present building now stands.
In 1818, disputes concerning the land were settled and the church was built and opened for worship on July 30th of that year, the cost being £170. The collections at the opening service were £21.
1820, ’A kind friend gave us 30 guineas which freed us from all debt’.
In 1821, a gallery was built, costing £120
In 1823 friends disagreed with the Ashford Church over mixed Communion and they formed a separate church, even though a number of people disapproved.
In 1824, the friends were determined to form a separate church and were this time successful.
On 3rd June 1824, the church was formed and was named ‘Bethel Baptist Church’. Brother J Skinner became the first Pastor and during various ministries the church continued to flourish, gaining many members and 36 were baptised.
In 1839 the church was enlarged and joined the East Kent Baptist Association.
Open air preaching was commenced in Elmsted, the outcome of which was the building of a Mission Church in 1869, which was sold in 1999.
1864 - 1873: Rev G Wright was Pastor and very many people were admitted to Church membership. At his Recognition Service, a large marquee was erected in the field opposite the Chapel to accommodate 600 people , which was filled to overflowing.
In 1873, a Manse was built next to the church. This has since been sold, but a new manse has been bought in Mountbatten Way.
1917 ‘The building was renovated, outside & in, at a cost of £160, £50 being raised by the members themselves.
On the 13th and 14th October 2018 we had an amazing weekend celebrating 200 years of the life of Brabourne Baptist Church. We were joined by Ministers past and present, friends from the community as well as the Church family and had a wonderful time praising God for his faithfulness over 200 years of ministry. The following weekend Paul was inducted as the Minister in Training at the church.
Today, Brabourne Baptist Church is situated at the heart of the village with services and events taking place at regular intervals, involving the whole community.