The church is fast approaching its 200 year anniversary. The following was written by Jack George a number of years ago and outlines the church history.
Over 170 years ago our forefathers, filled with love for God, planned and built our Church. Since then it has known change and growth, decline and then growth again. In these pages, I have attempted to give a brief history of our Church. We are thankful for the sacriﬁce, loyalty and devotion of its members over the years.
Let us remember ﬁrst of all that it is God’s House.
Ours is a glorious heritage.
1819 – Mr Matthew Jeula
1823 – Rev. Matthew Jeula
1825 – Rev. Davis
1826 – Rev. Matthew Jeula
1827 – Mr George Robert Hewlings
1829 – Rev. George Robert Hewlings
1835 – Rev. J H Muir
1841 – Rev. Percy Strutt
1871 – Rev. W C Preston
1873 – Rev. Samuel Chisolm
1877 – Rev. Samuel Yates
1923 – Rev. Herbert Burn
1954 – Rev. Ronald W G Talmey
1963 – Rev. Victor L Tudor
1976 – Rev. Stanley Whlffen
1983 – Rev. Margaret Howard (from 1989 assisted by part-time Associate Rev. Ivor Howells Minister)
1994 – Rev. Adrian J Wells
Nonconformity in Spalding has a history that is full of interest, but it was not until the Act of Uniformity in 1662 that it fully asserted itself. Prior to that period there is evidence that sections of Baptists and Independents existed in the Spalding area. Spalding Baptist Church ranks as the oldest Nonconformist Church in Spalding. It was formed in 1646 when religious liberty was not recognised as it is today. Following the Declaration of Indulgence by King Charles 2 on 15th March 1672, licences were granted to particular places to be used for worship other than according to the customs of the Church of England. One such document, dated 13th January 1673, allowed Independents to meet in Spalding in the house of Richard Rose, he himself being listed as The Teacher.
In 1818 Mr Thongar, a Particular Baptist, started a congregation of that denomination in a Hall previously used as an auction mart in Red Lion Street, but met with little success. The Rev. Thomas Haynes, the first minister of Grove Street Congregational Church, Boston, then arranged for services to be held m’ this Hall, calling together the Independents who had previously been meeting in private houses for worship. This met with some success and in’ 1819 Mr Matthew Jeula, a student from Hoxton Academy, London, was called to commence a probationary pastorate. His labours were attended with such success that the Hall, which was in a somewhat dilapidated state, soon became too small to house the congregation. It was decided to ﬁnd a new site to
erect a more desirable edifice.
The present Church building was erected and opened in’ what was then called Pinchbeck Street in 1823 for divine worship. The building was just a shell of the church as we know it today – no gallery, organ recess, vestibule or Church Hall, the organ and the pulpit being at the Pinchbeck Road end of the Church. The total cost of the structure was £1200. Of this sum, £350 was raised in the first year, the balance being borrowed – £350 from a Mr Watson for which an annuity of £37 was agreed to be paid, and £500 from Mr Joseph Claypon, a Boston banker who charged interest of 4% on his loan. The famous Baptist preacher, Rev. Robert Hall of Leicester, preached at the opening service. On the following day, Mr Matthew Jeula was ordained and inducted to the pastorate. He continued as pastor until the Spring of 1825 when, owning to heavily declining congregations, he relinquished his charge. Later that same year, Rev. Davis became Minister, but the congregation declined still further and he left within a year. As the Rev. Matthew Jeula was still without a church he was persuaded to return to Spalding in 1826, but, with the cause still declining and being unsettled himself, he left again after a few months, having accepted the call to take charge of a new church in Bury St Edmunds.
In May 1827, Mr George Robert Hewlings, then studying under the Rev. Walter Scott of Rothwell (Northants), was asked to accept pastoral charge for one month, at the end of which he was persuaded to stay for a further year. The Church was in a disorganised state, so it was voluntarily disbanded on 9th October 1828 and a new church was immediately formed. This Church, consisting of only 10 members, was the beginning of the church organisation as we know it today. The Covenant proceedings were conducted by two Congregational Ministers and the following document was subsequently furnished by them:-
“We, the undersigned Pastors of Congregational Churches, having heard the details of the experience and witnessed the order of those believers who have this day united themselves m’ the public profession of the Gospel, do therefore regard them as a Church of Jesus Christ, modelled after the order of the New Testament, as observed amongst Congregational Dissenters, and we pronounce them to be such accordingly.”
Thursday, 9th October 1828
John Blackburn Pentonville, Pastor of Claremont Chapel
John Stewart Pastor of Independent Chapel, Market Deeping
A unanimous invitation was given to Mr G R Hewlings to become Minister of the new Church and he was ordained on 18th June 1829. During his eight years as Minister, 65 members were admitted into the fellowship of the church. The first recorded baptism in the Church was that of the Minister’s daughter on 16th August 1829. On 31st July 1835 he resigned as Minister having accepted a call to a larger church at Tottenham (London) and he died in America in 1878.
The Rev. J H Mulr of Brigg succeeded to the vacant pastorate later in the same year (1835). He was a man of great ministerial ability and this gave promise of success, but unhappily there was much internal discord within the church and in 1840, after 5 years as Pastor, he moved to Queens Street Chapel, Shefﬁeld.
In May 1841, Rev. Percy Strutt, then Minister of Gloucester Street Chapel, Liverpool, was invited to take the preaching engagements during one month. After his probationary period, he was called by the unanimous vote of the Church “to take oversight of them m’ the Lord.” He accordingly settled as Pastor on 1st September 1841 but, in consequence of the previous unhappy circumstances, “the remnant that remained of the church amounted to only 29 members.” The Rev. Percy Strutt was a scholarly man and an able preacher. Under his leadership, the congregation increased and signs of prosperity multiplied. In 1842, the debt of £160 remaining on the church buildings was paid off and the Rev J H Muir’ was invited to take the special service amidst feelings of mutual affection between him and his church fellowship. The Church was registered for the Solemnisation of Marriages on 9th April1844. In 1847, the first Deacons were elected. Those being successful in’ the ballot were –
A P Maples, W Barber, W Hobson and W Proctor.
On 6th September 1853 the Spread Eagle Inn, next door to the Church, was offered for sale by Public Auction. It was a well-frequented Inn and had long been an undesirable neighbour. It is recorded that “on occasions, the music of the sanctuary blended somewhat strangely and disturbingly with the more lively strains of the ﬁddle next door.” In order to obtain’ the site the Church had to buy the Inn with its ﬁxtures for £360. The cost was felt to be justified. Not only would undesirable neighbours be removed but a Church Hall could then be built adjoining the church. Designs for the Hall were prepared by Mr W East and a contract entered into with Mr W Brown. The total cost of the site, building and furnishings was £800. The opening ceremony, at which all but £100 was given by members, was conducted in 1856 when the Rev J H Muir, a former pastor, preached. In 1857, the gallery in the church was erected at a cost of £300 bringing the total seating capacity in the church to 620. The sum of £45 was expended on warm water heating apparatus for the Church.
The Rev Percy Street closed an outstanding ministry of 29 years in 1870 having accepted a call to Greville Place, Kilburn, London. 241 members were admitted during his ministry. He died in London on 29th November 1890 aged 77 years. There is a memorial tablet to him in the Church.
On 27th November 1871 the Rev W C Preston became Minister, the total membership then being 133, but he left m’ 1872 having accepted a call to Hope Street Congregational Church, Hull. On 30th March 1873, he was succeeded by Rev Samuel Chisholm of Bourne. During his ministry, the land behind the Church, on which stands the Turner Room and the old Primary Room (now Manning and Speyer Room) was purchased for £700. He closed his ministry in 1873 and moved to Chipping Ongar.
In June 1877, Rev. Samuel Yates came from Runcorn to begin what was to become the longest pastorate in the church, lasting for 45 years. At the Church meeting on 19th April 1877, 93 members voted in favour of him being called to the vacant pastorate, 13 voted against and 7 abstained.
It is interesting to note that Samuel Yates was connected with Queen Street Church, Sheffield, during his boyhood – the Church to which our previous Minister, Rev J H Muir, moved in 1840. Rev. Yates was a virile, forceful preacher. His personality was soon felt among the congregation.
At a meeting on 31st May 1880 complaints were received about the signing in connection with the Sabbath services and it was decided to make enquiries in the matter to determine the best means to adopt in order to remove the cause of dissatisfaction. The cause was, happily, neither choir nor congregation but the organ.
Several attempts were made to repair the instrument but the real solution lay in removing the organ from the Pinchbeck Road end of the church to its present position. At a meeting on 4th May 1887 it was agreed to accept the tender of Messrs Foster and Andrews of Hull to “remove the organ to the other end of the Church, clean and repair’ and, as far as possible, to silence the movement” at a cost of £35. A recessed organ chamber was built to. house the organ and a new pulpit was erected at the west end of the Church, the total cost being £450. £301 was raised at a Garden Party at “Haverfield”, London Road, the home of Alfred Hobson Esq., and the balance by another church effort towards the end of the year. Work commenced in July 1887 and the reopening of the church took place on 15th December 1887 when Rev F W Clarkson of Birmingham was the preacher. Further additions to the main’ hall were built in 1883 to provide a small kitchen and a small room where the present kitchen is situated.
The Church was completely renovated m’ 1896 at a cost of £500, most of which was raised at a three-day Bazaar, “A Street of Nations in Mid-Winter” which was held in’ Spalding Corn Exchange. The body of the Church was re-seated with pitch pine pews and the seats in’ the gallery were re-cased and modernised to correspond. The vestibule was constructed and glazed with Cathedral glass and a new pulpit was erected. Ald. W H Mill’s, J P , a member of the Church, was the architect and all the work was carried out by ﬁve tradesmen who were members of the Church:-
Joinery, pews and pulpit – J Stanger & R Luck
Decorating – J F Symes
W Bennett – BuildingT A Hardy – Gas fitting, heating and ventilation
The special preacher at the reopening was Rev J D Jones, M A of Newland Congregational Church, Lincoln who gave an eloquent and striking address on the need for Christian enthusiasts.
Underneath the church itself are vaults and on the inside walls of the church are several tablets commemorating some of those buried there. Members were able to purchase vaults for themselves and family but numbers 1 and 26 were reserved for poor female and male members respectively and numbers 2 and 23 for the children of poor members. Vaults numbered 7 and 8 were reserved for Pastors of the Church and their descendants but none were interred there. Two teenagers are buried in the vaults, the orphaned children of a previous church member, Hannah Foe (died 28th August 1837) and Robert Foe (died June 1839). According to Dr and Mrs Watson of Oldham, who visited the church in August 1974, they were forebears of Mrs Watson and stated that Daniel DeFoe, who wrote Robinson Crusoe, was of the same lineage. The last person to be buried in the vaults was Joseph Pratt who became a Deacon of the Church in 1855 and died on 12th June 1891. He was Master of the British School in Pinchbeck Road, founded by Whigs and Nonconformists in’ 1837. The School closed in 1881 when Westlode Street School was opened and the building was sold to the Free Masons for £460.
In 1901 the Deacons of the church were:- A Hobson, H M Procotor, E B Proctor, W A Southwell, F Catt, C B Crust and J W White.
In 1902 Rev S Yates celebrated 25 years in the pastorate when he received a purse containing £70 and a roll-top writing desk.
The three stained glass windows in the Church depict Faith, Hope and Charity. The two at the west end of the Church were installed in 1908 in memory of Sarah Jane Southwell and Jane Proctor. The centre window at the east end was installed in 1912 and was the gift of a member of the church who wished to remain anonymous. The donor died just before the window was dedicated and Mr E M Smith, who executed the work, was commissioned to add the inscription “Dedicated to the glory of God in memory of W A Southwell”, he being the anonymous donor.
W A Southwell was born in Wisbech in 1850 and moved to Stamford in 1865 when he associated himself with the Congregational Church there. He came to Spalding in 1893 as manager of the Spalding Branch of the Stamford, Spalding and Boston Banking Company. Mr Southwell was an indefatigable worker in the Church as Deacon, Church Secretary, Choir Leader, Lay Preacher and Sunday School teacher. He rendered much public service in the town of Spalding.
H M Proctor farmed at Wykeham, three miles from Spalding, and was a member of the family who for many years rendered valuable service in the church. Son of W Proctor, one of the original Deacons, he himself served on the Diaconate. He was one of the original members of the Holland County Council and served for many years as a member of the Spalding Improvement Board and the Board of Guardians.
Another active member of the church during this time was Mr Alfred Hobson who lived at “Haverﬁeld” in London Road, a large house with spacious grounds on the corner of Haverﬁeld Road. He was head of a very large drapery business in the Market Place – Hobson & Co. He never courted public honours – indeed he shrank from them – but his quiet, unostentatious generosity, his kindly spirit and his desire always to think the best of everybody, won him wide esteem. He was connected with the church all his life, serving as Senior Deacon, Sunday School Superintendent amongst other offices, and the church still beneﬁts from his generosity through the Hobson Trust, much of it being devoted to help aged and needy members.
In 1910 a member, who wished to remain anonymous, offered to defray the cost of rebuilding and remodelling the front of the church m’ order to make it more in keeping with present day ideas and more expressive of the dignity of the sanctuary. A wall, one inch thick, was added to the front of the church and the two front windows were re-glazed.
The completion of 40 years as minister of the church by Rev S Yates was celebrated on Thursday, 7th June 1917. As a mark of esteem and affection he was presented with a portrait of himself and a wallet containing £152. Services were held in the afternoon and evening when the special preacher was Rev J D Jones, M. A., B. D. of Richmond Hill Congregational Church, Bournemouth. Others taking part were Rev Thomas Grear of Bishopgate Congregational Church, London (a fellow student of the minister), Mr E Joyce, J.P. of Stamford, representing the Lincolnshire Congregational Union and the Vicar of Spalding, Rev. E P Gough. The Chairman was Mr E B Proctor, J.P. It had been arranged to have a public tea but, being wartime, the food controller would only allow refreshments to be provided for non-resident visitors. In his address, Rev J D Jones paid tribute of indebtedness to Rev S Yates for an idea which ultimately materialised in the Congregational Central Fund which raised £250,000 for the beneﬁt of struggling country churches. The fund was launched by Rev J D Jones to mark his own period of ofﬁce as Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales m’ 1909/1910 but had its real beginning in a sermon preached by Rev Yates in Newland Church, Lincoln while Rev Jones was minister there. In that sermon, Rev Yates drew a vivid picture of the lot of the country Congregational pastor. The Vicar of Spalding congratulated Rev Yates on completing so magniﬁcent a record and revealed that he was also a bearer of a message from the Bishop of Lincoln, who had been in Spalding that day, and who asked him to say to Rev Yates “God Bless you” and to express his appreciation of the real and many blessings that had rested upon Mr Yates’ ministry in the county of Lincolnshire. After receiving the gifts Mr Yates mounted the pulpit he had so honourably occupied for so long and said “No expression of kindness by my people takes me by surprise. The story of their goodness to me is 40 years long”. In an eloquent speech, Rev Yates looked back over the years and forward into the future. In conclusion, he referred to Christ – “His mind is my ideal, His love my inspiration, His cross my glory and for the rest, having you, loving you, being loved by you and, God giving grace, in serving you better in the days before us than in the days that are gone”. Then, folding his notes, Mr Yates, his face lit up with emotion and joy, turned again to his people and said simply ” Thank you. Thank you”.
After a ministry of 45 years Rev Samuel Yates retired on 26th April 1922 on account of ill-health. Forty-five years as pastor of one church is a record of which both church and minister had every right to be proud. Sammy Yates, as he was affectionately known, was held in high esteem in the church, in the town and in the county of Lincolnshire. A great scholar, an eloquent preacher, a long and inspiring ministry was brought to a close. A memorial tablet is to be seen at the west end of the church. He died on 14th June 1928.
Rev Yates was largely responsible for bringing into being the Council of the Spalding Evangelical Churches in March 1901 and became its first President. The Treasurer was Mr Southwell and the other Congregational delegate was Mr F Catt. Members of the Council’ comprised representatives of the Wesleyan, Primitive and Free Methodist Churches, Baptist and Congregational Churches and the Society of Friends.
The new Minister, Rev Herbert Burn of Brigg commenced his ministry on 6th May 1923 and was inducted in the pastorate on 24th May when the preacher was Rev. H H Carlisle, M.A. He was called for a period of three years but proved to be such a worthy successor to Rev Yates that he continued m’ the ministry of the church for 30 years. Few churches have had the experience of a span of 75 years with only two ministers.
In 1924 a new heating system was installed in the church at a cost of £225. Mr Thomas Aitken and Mr Fred Sly were elected as the first Elders of the Church m’ 1932. Electric lighting was installed in both church and schoolroom in 1933 at a cost of £63.13.0d. This replaced gas lighting which had been installed in 1832.
The 3rd Spalding Company of the Boys’ Brigade was formed on 4th October 1944, the Jubilee Year of the BB. movement. The first Captain’ was Mr A E Palmer with Mr E Ferrett (Lieutenant) and Messrs E J and J W George as 2nd Lieutenants. Future Captains were J W George, C H Peck, R G Evans, A Moore and K E Robinson.
The 1st Spalding Company of the Girls Life Brigade was formed on 18th October 1933, the Officers being Miss C McLeod (Captain) and Miss A Andrew (Lieutenant). Future Captains were Miss B Peacock, Mrs E White and Mrs E Bright.
The Primary Room was erected in 1936 at a cost of £374 and was opened by Sir William Lobjoint, J.P., O.B.E., President of the National Sunday School Union. At a meeting on 15th December 1937, the Women’s Leisure Hour (now Women’s Fellowship) was formed.
A memorial tablet in the Church records the installation of the electric organ blower in 1947, the gift of Mr and Mrs C E Smith of Monks House in memory of their’ son, Pilot Ofﬁcer Bernard James Smith who was reported missing on an operational ﬂight over Germany on the night of 10th/11th April 1943 and was later, in 1949, buried in the British Military Cemetery, Rheinberg, Germany.
The 25th Anniversary of the ministry of Rev E Burn was celebrated on 29th April’ 1948 when the guest speaker was Rev Dr Sidney Berry, M.A., Secretary of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. Owing to continuing ill-health, Rev Burn’s outstanding ministry came to an end on 30th April 1953. Herbert Burn was a man of great spiritual stature. He preached the word of God faithfully and undertook his pastoral duties with dignity, zeal and sincerity. He was a friend and confidante to all and, by his cheerful disposition, bound the members of the church together in a happy family of spiritual fellowship. His influence extended far beyond the bounds of the church in the town of Spalding, where he served on almost every committee of importance; throughout the County of Lincolnshire where he served as Secretary of the Lincolnshire Congregational Union and nationally where he served on the Council of the Congregational Church of England and Wales as a Director of the London Missionary Society.
The Rev Ronald Talmey of Ware (Herts.) commenced his ministry on 24th January 1954. Those taking part at the Induction service were Rev. J S Soloman (Moderator), Rev. D J Avis (Knebworth) and Rev. W J Bremner (Lincoln).
The Young Wives’ League was formed in 1955 and was subsequently renamed the Women’s Friendship League. Also in 1955, the organ was renovated at a cost of £290. Improvements were carried out at the same time, these being the gift of the organist Mr H Mason-Smith. The kitchen was modernised in 1961 at a cost of £600 and the Vestry and Turner Room enlarged at a cost of £1270. Mr A R Turner was an Elder of the Church and had a long association as Superintendent of the Sunday School. Rev. R W G Talmey, having accepted a call to Ebenezer Congregational Church, Chatham (Kent) concluded his ministry on 26th March 1963. He had exercised a very sincere pastoral care of the church and was well loved by the members. Even though his ministry was much shorter he had proved to be a worthy successor to Rev. Herbert Burn.
The Rev. Victor L Tudor came from Friary Church, West Bridgford, Nottingham and was inducted into the pastorate on 2nd October 1963. Those taking part in the service included Professor R Turner, M.A. (Paton Congregational College), Rev. Frank M Pollard (Market Harborough), Rev. Dr. Jason S Wright, B.Sc., Ph.D. (Beaconsfield) and Rev. John White (Moderator). Rev. Tudor was particularly interested in amateur
dramatics and the Circle Players were formed in 1964. Their’ ﬁrst production “The Vigil‘” was presented in the Church during Holy Week, 1964.
A coloured minister, Rev. Pat Matthews from Georgetown, Guyana, acted as Minister of the church for a month m’ August 1966, during Rev. Tudor’s vacation. A Junior Church was formed in October 1968 and a Sunday Luncheon Club, to provide hot lunches for senior citizens was started in 1973.
The Church celebrated its 150th Anniversary during 1969. The celebrations, which were many and varied, reﬂected the joy of the century and a half that had passed, and the determination of the members to leave a heritage not unworthy of the past. The Church entered a ﬂoral ﬂoat in the Spalding Flower Parade depicting the 150 years in May 1969. The Anniversary Dinner/Dance was held at Springfields on “May 31st October 1969 when the special guests were Councillor Jack George (Chairman of the Spalding Urban District Council and an Elder and active worker in the church) and Rev. Brian Baker of Newland Church, Lincoln. Councillor George conducted worship in the Church on the morning of 2nd November 1969 to mark the beginning of the 151st year. Rev. Victor Tudor retired from active ministry m’ 1975 and returned to his native Anglesey. Mr Tudor was a man of scholarly ability, an eloquent preacher and very forward-looking. In October 1972, the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches united to become the United Reformed Church.
On 1st July 1976 Rev. Stanley Whiffen commenced his ministry at Spalding having previously been minister at Shrub End, Colchester. The Induction service on Saturday, 3rd July was conducted by Rev. John White (Moderator), Rev. Tim Manson and Rev. W Simpson. In May 1981, the Reformed Association of the Churches of Christ, a relatively small denomination, joined the United Reformed Church which was renamed the United Reformed Church in the United Kingdom.
In June 1980, Pfarrer Emrich of Christuskirche, Speyer came on a Twin Town visit to Spalding and stayed with Councillor J W George. He shared in the service at the Parish Church and the United Reformed Church on the Sunday morning and, as a result of the visit, a twinning link’ was started with Christuskirche, Speyer and the United Reformed Church, Spalding.
After a ministry of six years in Spalding, Rev. Stanley Whiffen left for Kettering in 1982. He had lived in the Manse in Campbells Close with his wife and three boys. The elder boy, Martin, entered college to train for the ministry. Rev. Whiffen, together with the minister at Wisbech, shared in a group ministry comprising of the churches at Spalding, Long Sutton, Wisbech, Gorefield and Whittlesey.
Rev. William Simpson, previously Moderator of the London Province, living in’ retirement in the Spalding area, acted as Interim Moderator during the year-long vacancy. He was assisted by his Wife, Rev. Euphemia Simpson. Both exercised outstanding ministries during that year and showed a great affection for both churches and congregation. Rev. W. Simpson’s moderatorial experience was a great help in calling a new minister. Rev. Margaret Howard of Ilfracombe accepted a call to be the ﬁrst woman minister of the church. She was inducted in the pastorate of Spalding and Boston churches on 9th April 1983 when those taking part were Rev. John Slow
(Moderator), Rev. R W G Talmey ( a previous minister) and Rev. W Simpson. A smaller manse was purchased and she took up residence of 17 St Annes Way, Spalding.
During October 1983 both Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade companies celebrated then” 50th anniversaries with special service, reunions and various other celebrations.
During 1986/87 extensive building work became necessary because of dry rot and the church meeting accepted the estimate of Mr R G Sharman (builder) for £96571. The plumbing and heating work was done by Windsor Bros. of Gosberton and the architect was Mr Alwyn Roffe. The prefabricated Primary Room was demolished and an entrance lobby, ﬁtted kitchen, new toilets and Manning Room were constructed with the Speyer Room on the second ﬂoor. On 17th June 1987, the Speyer Room was dedicated in the presence of Pfarrer Schank during a Speyer twin-church visit. A Thanksgiving service was held on Sunday, 5th July 1987 to mark the completion of the building work. A plaque was placed on the entrance to the Manning Room by Miss Amy Garwell, the young granddaughter of the late Tom Manning who was responsible for the early planning of the project.
On 1st April’ 1989 Rev. Ivor Howells (previously of Dudley, Worcs.) was inducted as part-time Associate Minister to the pastorate in Spalding and Boston. Those taking part m’ the service were Rev. J F Slow (Moderator), Rev. M Howard (Minister), Rev. J Gardiner (Black Country Team Ministry) and Rev. J P Caton, B.D. (retired). Rev. I Howells, having retired from the active ministry, took up residence in the Manse at 17 St Annes Way, Spalding. After being with us for only 18 months, Rev. Howells retired from active ministry in September 1990 owing to indifferent health, and went to live in Kent to be near his family. Both he and his wife, Joan, were well-loved by all the members.
After 9 years in Spalding Rev. Margaret Howard resigned in April 1992 feeling that in the interest of the church it was time for a change of minister. Her caring pastoral ministry was outstanding as was her leadership and guidance for those in special need. She had acted as Free Church Chaplain to both Johnson and Welland Hospitals and tributes were paid by staff for her care to both patients and staff. She worked untiringly to raise money to pay off the debt for the rebuilding fund.
She continued to live at 1 Ascot Close, the home purchased by the denomination for her retirement. She transferred her membership to Whittlesey United Reformed Church on 1st September 1993 on her appointment as Free Church Chaplain to Peterborough Hospitals. She retired from that post and active ministry in December 1997.
Rev. John Mackelvie, M.A., B.D. living in retirement in Stamford became Interim Moderator during the vacant pastorate. A man of great ministerial experience and ability he rendered outstanding service both by conducting worship and in the pastoral care of the members, ably assisted by his wife Marion. Both showed great affection of church and congregation and tributes and presentations were made to mm at the conclusion of his Interlm Moderatorship in December 1993.
After a vacancy of 20 months Rev. Adrian John Wells, previously minister of St Andrew’s and St Ninian’s United Reformed Church, Hull accepted a call to become minister at both Spalding and Boston churches and was inducted on 8th January 1994.
The Presiding Minister was Rev Malcolm G Hanson BA – Moderator of the East Midlands Province – the charge to the minister and to the church was given by Rev Alasdair J G Walker MA of St Andrews with Newland United Reformed Church,
The organ was renovated by Mr Terry Aistrup of Horncastle during June to October 1995 at a total cost of £16000. This involved removing all the old mechanical action and replacing it with a modern electric action enabling the full tones in the organ to be much more readily heard. The rededication of the rebuilt organ took place at a special service on Sunday February 4th 1996.
Points of Interest
Around the inside walls of the church are memorial tablets to those who are buried in the vaults underneath the church. Two teenage orphans are buried in the vaults underneath the church – Hannah Foe (died 28th August 1837) and Robert Foe (died June 1839) who are of the same lineage as Daniel DeFoe, author of Robinson Crusoe.
In the early days the income for the church was provided by pew rents, worshippers reserving their own pew by payment of a rental for the same. At a meeting in July 1927 it was decided to appropriate one pew for the poor from the Union Workhouse.
Weekly Church offerings commenced on 1st January 1884 although members could still subscribe by pew rents If desired. The envelope system was adopted in July 1927, Mr A W White acting as Envelope Secretary.
Sermon in a Commercial Crisis
At a members’ meeting on 17th February 1881, Rev S Yates indicated that, on the next Sabbath, his address would he on “What should be the character and temper of Christian men during a commercial crisis”.
Links with Speyer
South Holland District Council is linked with the city of Speyer in Germany. Following a visit by Pastor Eckart Emrich in June 1980 to Spalding, a link was formed with Christuskirche in Speyer. A deputation from the church visited Speyer in 1981 and representatives from Christuskirche, together with their minister Pfarrer Theison, came to Spalding in 1983.
65 years as a Lay Preacher
On Sunday, September 14th 1997 Mr Jack George conducted morning service in the Church which marked for in the completion of 65 years of lay preaching. Tributes were paid to him’ and gifts were presented by the church and the children of Junior Church in appreciation of his long and dedicated service. An inscribed certificate was presented later.