PENKNAP Providence Church is 200 years old this year – a milestone that was celebrated this month.
On Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th September the church came together in services of celebration, which were also attended by old friends and local dignitaries. The Saturday service, led by Rev Geoff Thomas from Aberystwyth, was attended by Mayor of Westbury, cllr Christine Mitchell, and South West Wiltshire MP Andrew Murrison. The Sunday service was led by Prof. Stuart Burgess from Trowbridge.
A booklet about the church and the men who have served the church as pastors over the last 200 years has been produced, and was available over the weekend.
Guy Davies, who has been the church’s pastor since November 2003, said, “We had a nice weekend, and the service on Saturday was particularly well supported. To think that for two centuries people have gathered to worship God in the life of this church, and we’re looking forward to seeing more in the future.”
“Over the last 200 years there have been huge changes in the religious and social life of our country. But the living God has not changed and the Church remains committed to the faith of Penknap’s founding fathers.”
The church, which is located in Dilton Marsh, holds a number of activities during the week for both adults and children alongside their Sunday services.
The church was founded under the preaching of George Phillips, who held a series of open air preaching meetings, beginning in April 1810, that led to the formation of the church. By October of that year, the chapel had been built. The church was called ‘Providence’ because while it was being built, the congregation met in the open air from April to November and it never rained on any service. The work of the church prospered for many years – over 230 people were baptised while the first pastor was there and the church had 16 Sunday School teachers.
More about the church can be found at www.providence-ebenezer.org.uk, while information on the history of the church is available on the Dilton Marsh website (www.dilton-marsh.org.uk).
Pictured on front page: Cyril Ede (minister from ’63-’86), Geoff Thomas (minister from Aberystwyth, preaching on Saturday), Guy Davies (current minister), Tom Jeffries (minister from ’94-’02).