Stanborough Park Church History

History of the Stanborough Park Church

On 14th November 1927 the foundation stone of the Stanborough Park Church was laid by the British Union President, Pastor W.H.Meredith. At that time Stanborough Park took in all of what is now the Kingswood Estate, the North Orbital Road, North Watford Cemetery, Purbrock Avenue and Spring and Holland Gardens.

The Park was home to the Stanborough Press, the Granose, the College, VOP, BUC and the Sanitarium. It was Dr.Rubel of the San who was the driving force behind the building of the church. It was he who led the band of workers with forks, spades, pickaxes, shovels, saws and hatchets as they cleared the ground for what would become 'the Church in the woods.'

After the foundation stone was laid all present, who had paid a shilling to do so, laid a brick. The church was dedicated, free of debt, on July 22, 1928. On 17th October in the same year Herbert Barham was the first person to be baptised in the Stanborough Park Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first funeral to be conducted in the church was that of the first minister, an Irishman, Pastor McAvoy. After the service the congregation walked behind the hearse from Stanborough Park to All Saint's Church in Horseshoe Lane for the burial.

Before the church was registered for weddings Miss Carey and Mr.Lelean had their marriage blessed, but the first wedding was that of Daisy Cash and Wilf Proudley on July 30, 1931. Pastor W.H.Meredith officiated and L.A.Meredith senior played the organ.

On Christmas Eve 1937 thirteen babies were dedicated in a special service. The following year the Male Voice Choir won the shield at a large music Festival in the Archway in London. First aid classes were started the same year by Nora Marriner and JMV classes commenced in 1940. In 1942 Mrs.Marriner along with Mrs.Wilding and Mrs.Swift began a Sunday School in the Park Church and in 1947 Master Guide classes were instituted.

Mrs.Marriner's mother, Gertrude Horsepool, celebrated her 100th birthday in 1954. Alf Kelly was the driving force behind the hospital visiting bands which were formed in 1955 and the following year he began services in Residential homes in Watford. Nurses were beginning to come to the Peace Memorial Hospital to train and in 1960 Mr.Kelly began Bible study groups for them in the Nurses' Homes.

In 1961 the first Christmas Toy Service was held in Stanborough Park Church and the tradition continues to the present day. To meet the needs of the growing church an extension and galleries were added to the building. It was again a doctor from the San who was the instigator of the building work. This time Dr.Hugh Williams led those of the congregation who did most of the work. The 'additional galleries and improvements' were dedicated on December 22, 1962 by Pastor J.A.McMillan, who was at that time the President of the BUC.

Following the fire at the Stanborough Press on January 2, 1964 many members moved with the Press when it was re-located to Grantham in 1965. When the San was pulled down some years later the congregation was further depleted as it was when Granose moved in the 1980's. However, the Park Church was still able to plant two other churches - the Rickmansworth Company in 1974 and the St.Albans Church in 1979.

The Senior Members Club which is still functioning was begun in 1976 and the Soup Run, which is also still functioning was begun in 1986. Between those dates memorable events were the Memorial Service for murdered missionaries Don and Ann Lale in 1981 and the funeral service of J.A.McMillan. The Sabbath morning service was broadcast on the radio in 1984 and the 100th birthday of Edith Crocker was celebrated in 1985.

Flower Festivals were held in 1981, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1994, and 1996, raising in excess of £40,000 for local charities and ADRA. The young people and pathfinders undertook mission projects in Pakistan (1987) Poland (1992) Albania (1993) Lithuania (1995) India (1997) and Impact Derry (1999). They also serve at Special Needs Camps every year.

Mr.Alf Kelly was awarded the MBE for his services to Charity shortly before his death in 1996.

Just before the NeXt Millennium Seminars in November 1998 special services were held to mark the 71st anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone and the Millennium of Prophecy Seminars this November are pointing us towards the year 2000.

As far as we can ascertain the following Pastors have served the Stanborough Park Church.

1928-31 Pastor McAvoy

1931-33 unknown

1933-46 W.H.Meredith

1946-47 G.D.Keough

1947-48 W.H.Meredith

1948-58 A.K.Armstrong

1958-60 J.Gillett

1962-64 M.C.Murdoch

1964-66 P.Stearman & J.J.Hyde

1966-72 E.Logan

1972-73 J.A.McMillan

1974-76 R.Surridge

1976-83 V.H.Hall

1983-91 R.Burgess

1991-2000 P.Boyle

2000-2005 R.Vine

2005- I.Sleeman

Last updated 21 November 2007.