Chapel stages its bicentenary celebrations

West Row Baptist Church celebrating 200th anniversary'Pastor Evan King'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150707-102505009
West Row Baptist Church celebrating 200th anniversary'Pastor Evan King'Picture Mark Westley ANL-150707-102505009

West Row Baptist Church has been celebrating its 200 anniversary this week.

The project to build the chapel at Friday Street began with the laying of the foundation stone on June 16 1814 by Leonard Ellington. The following March the first service was held in the newly-built place of worship.

However the earliest record of worship dates back to 1720 when a home was licensed to hold services and between 1720 and 1815 a number of houses were used for worship in the village.

Records from a meeting in 1813 show that the congregation had increased so much that the fellowship needed to find more room and that to meet the cost of a new building a weekly subscription of one penny per week should be requested.

The driving force behind the new chapel was Leonard Ellington who became the first Pastor of the chapel and served for 22 years.

Once the building had been completed the fellowship met and it was decided that the occupants of each pew would pay seven shillings per quarter until the chapel was paid for.

Over the years the building expanded and today has a thriving congregation, meetings for worship and bible study, with a monthly community lunch, toddler group and three youth groups. The fellowship also supports mission work in the UK and oversees.

This week the chapel has been holding special services to mark the anniversary.

Today children from West Row Primary School will visit to see an exhibition about the chapel and tonight there will be a youth rally.

Tomorrow the chapel will be open to the public to see the exhibition with a barbecue for all from 1pm and on Sunday two special services will be held at 10.45am and 6.30pm.

Pastor for the last five years, the Rev Evan King, said: “I enjoy this ministry very much and feel I’m well supported by the fellowship and look forward to being pastor for the foreseeable future.”