Our history

As a worshipping fellowship of Christians, Alexandra Road Congregational Church (ARC) began in 1818; and by 1846 had a meeting place in Chapel Street nearby.  By 1883 the congregation was worshipping on the present site and in one of our present buildings.  The various brick and stone structures were erected between 1880 and 1898.  

The church was not without its ups and downs in the decades and centuries that followed.  However, the church benefitted greatly from the clear Biblical emphasis in the ministry of the Rev John Marshall from 1958 to 2003, some of the blessings of which are still felt in the church to this day.

“Alexandra Road….. Church” is obvious, but what does the “Congregational” part mean?!  First, we don’t have a denominational HQ somewhere telling us what to do; we’re independent (though not isolated, but rather in an organisation of over 100 churches).  Second, the leaders lead with the approval or consent of the members (so there’s a democratic element).  Third, unlike Baptist churches, we are prepared to baptise babies of Christian believers, not just people who understand the faith and make a credible profession of faith.  (There have been plenty of Congregationalists in England since the middle of the 16th century, including the Pilgrim Fathers who went from here to the US, and George Whitefield the preacher colleague of Wesley).