Century 1 – the 1800’s
Early 1800’s St Giles Church of England, Rowley, welcomes Rev George Barrs as Curate. (Pig Lane later renamed Barrs Road after the Barrs family) Powerful preacher but not at all pro-Baptist!
1829 6 men (plus families?) leave St Giles as they come to see that the Bible supports the baptism of believers by immersion. They rent a room for holding services above a nailshop off the public footpath between Bowling Green and Molyneux Road.
1833 One of the 6, 27 year old Joseph Smith, is chosen to be their minister.
1841 Having bought land ‘off the Halesowen turnpike road’ in Spring Meadow, a new chapel costing £591.16s.9d is built and opened.
1864 There has been so much growth in 23 years that the building is extended to twice its original size to add a schoolroom and two galleries. A Sunday School begins. Music provided by the Chapel Orchestra who occupy the front gallery. Records speak of a ‘serpent’, a wind instrument, played by a man in a yellow waistcoat.
1873 Pastor Joseph Smith dies age 67 and is buried in the chapel graveyard.
1880’s Continued growth. Further extension plans.
1882 – 1884 Richard Lovesey of Rochdale is Pastor
1891 Chapel Jubilee. More land bought for new Sunday School Hall.
Century 2 – the 1900’s
1903 SMBC now bursting at the seams. But a group now moves out and forms Ebenezer Chapel, Station Road. Pressure on space eases.
1909 – 1936 Pastorate of Paul H Robbins from Bath, Somerset. Becomes known locally as ‘Gentleman Robbins’.
1917 SMBC Orchestra disbanded as new pipe organ installed.
1941 SMBC Centenary – all able-bodied males away fighting in World War Two. The Bowling Green nailshop is finally demolished around this time – but its bricks find a new home as a retaining wall in the rear garden of a house on the corner of Highland Road and Mildred Road.
1964 SMBC Sunday School Centenary
1976 Friday Club for children launched
1978 Ladies Fellowship begins.
1979 A Winston Flavell aged 35, from Gornal, becomes minister. Big push into the community, local schools, homes of Sunday School children.
1981 SMBC Pilgrim Bookstall begins on Blackheath Market, later moving to Cradley Heath Market.
1985 Childrens’ Holiday Bible Clubs begin.
1986 New single-storey extension with modern facilities and multi-purpose room added. Foundations sufficient for later addition of second storey.
1989 Coffee & Crafts begins.
Century 3 – the 2000’s
2001 Pastor A Winston Flavell concludes his ministry, moving on to work with the mission organisation, Slavic Gospel Association.
2004 – 2007 Richard C Ross of Shrewsbury is Pastor.
2009 and onwards SMBC plays its part in the annual Old Hill Festival.
2009 Monthly evangelistic Coffee & Chat sessions begin on Saturday mornings.
2010 Angus R Cameron of Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, N Ireland becomes minister. Several new evangelistic efforts begin.
2011 Friday morning Little Tots begins.
2014 Pastor Angus R Cameron concludes his ministry, moving on to become Pastor of Cumnock Baptist Church in Scotland.
2016 Julian Eisner of Chester becomes minister.
…..and the future?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart…..” – Jeremiah 29:11 – 13
I know who holds the future,
And He’ll guide me with His hand,
With God things don’t just happen,
Everything by Him is planned.