Welcome to our site! We hope you like it. We would like this to be a thought-provoking and active online space to match the atmosphere of our church. But why the lighthouse? It’s fair to say Newbury is about as far from the coast as you could possibly get in this Island of ours! But we see ourselves as a Lighthouse for a number of reasons.
Firstly, we are a group whose lives have each been illuminated by the light of the gospel. This has changed the way that we choose to live our lives.
‘For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’ (2Cor4:6)
Secondly, collectively, we are a beacon for the gospel.
‘“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.’ (Matt5:14-16)
Thirdly, a lighthouse is a symbol of calm water and safe harbour after a dangerous journey, and this is what Jesus offers:
‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”’ (Matt11:28-30)
Please do explore our new site and let us know if you have any feedback. We have provided some further background information below.
The Christadelphians are a relatively small religious body, with congregations located in over 120 countries throughout the world, with large groups of Christadelphians in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, North America, India, Asia and Africa. In other countries and continents there are many growing communities of believers, and it is an exciting time to witness the call of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of men and women in the 21st Century.
The name "Christadelphians" has been in use for nearly 150 years, and it comes from two Greek words and means "brothers and sisters in Christ". We are a lay community, and each congregation is also called an "ecclesia" (the Greek New Testament word for church). We have no paid clergy or hierarchy, but all members contribute of their time, resources, energy and enthusiasm voluntarily in service to God. A strong common belief and baptism binds our brotherhood together worldwide as a single fellowship of believers.
We accept the Bible as our only guide and believe it to be the wholly inspired word of God.
A Brief History of The Christadelphians
Whilst the distinctive aspects of our faith were essentially forged in the 19th Century, when there was great debate not only as to the very existence of God, but of the doctrine and understanding of Christendom as a whole, many believers since the time of the first century apostles have held the same faith as Christadelphians.
There have been countless independent communities around the world who have eagerly studied the Bible and accepted its simplest teachings, often contrary to the established pattern of belief and dogma.
The beliefs and practices of the Christadelphians can be traced from the New Testament to the earliest Christians of the 1st and 2nd Centuries in documents such as the Epistle of Clement, the Didache and the Apostles' Creed.
With the advent of religious freedom in Europe in the 16th Century Reformation, the same beliefs and practices resurfaced in Bible-minded groups such as the Anabaptists in Switzerland and the Socinians in Poland. The early English Baptists held similar beliefs (although these beliefs are perhaps not held by Baptists today). In the 18th Century many leading figures in the Enlightenment such as Sir Isaac Newton and William Whiston, also held these beliefs.
Today's Christadelphian worldwide fellowship has its origin in the 1830s, an age of revival and reform in America and England. In America, a medical doctor, John Thomas, published the Herald of the Kingdom, which set out Bible teaching on the resurrection and the Kingdom of God. In Britain a journalist named Robert Roberts took up the same cause in the Ambassador of the Coming Age. Thomas and Roberts made no claim to any vision or personal revelations - only to try and be honest students of the Bible and its message.
When the American Civil War broke out in 1861 those Christian groups who did not fight were required to register with Union government. Sam Coffman and other brothers in Illinois, registered themselves as "brethren in Christ" or in a single word, "Christadelphian". This name was soon adopted by many like-minded groups of believers in America and Britain.
Since then, independent Christadelphian congregations have been established in countries in every continent of the world (except Antartica!).
History of Newbury Christadelphians
We currently number some 50 members in our fellowship, and we are ordinary people from a variety of backgrounds, and engaged in a wide range of employment, including public service.
Our congregation is made up of men, women and children of all ages, who live in and around Newbury and wider afield, including Andover, Basingstoke, Bicester and Marlborough. We even have one member who lives at Mons in Belgium (and is an enthusiastic member of the local cricket team there!).
Many of our members are involved in wider activity within the Christadelphian fellowship, including preaching, leading worship, and also in the mission field overseas with strong links with Estonia, India, Colombia and other places.
Christadelphians in Newbury began with our brother Philip Edward Davies. Philip was born in 1853 and, in course of time, became Secretary to a large Baptist congregation in Newbury. He then joined the Strict Baptists before becoming a Christadelphian at the age of 39. He was baptised on June 4th 1892. The Christadelphian Magazine of July 1892 recorded the event and added 'his obedience established a witness for the truth in a fresh town and we hope that results may follow the efforts he put forward.' His efforts started the following day, a Sunday, when an open air meeting was held.
Brother J. Dyer and brother J. Nutley were baptised the following year. So it was on November 30th 1893 that five brethren resolved to form a Christadelphian ecclesia (our congregation). Philip Davies was elected as 'Recording Brother' (secretary) and it was agreed to purchase an organ for £6.14s.6d.
Finding a suitable place to worship was a problem and after much searching, the Ebeneezer Chapel in Wharf Road was found and a tenancy was agreed starting from Sunday August 1894 at a rent of 2s.6d a week.
In 1894 a small Sunday School was established.
Since then, the ecclesia has moved venues several times:-
- 1902-1919 Masonic Hall on Northbrook St.
- 1919-1935 Oddfellows Hall in Craven Road.
- 1939-1945 During the war the hall was occupied by the military and the private sitting room of the Caretaker, Mr. Beckley, was used.
- 1948-1956 Wharf St. Hall.
In 1974, a hall on the current site in Lower Way, Thatcham was purchased. The building served us well for many years and many services, baptisms, and Sunday School activities were held there. Having lasted far longer than predicted the hall became no longer maintainable. We have now been blessed with the resources to rebuild on the existing site.
The current building was opened on 9th July 2006 after meeting for 9 months in the Kennet Heath Community Centre, near Thatcham railway station.
Over the years, Christadelphians have continued to witness to the people of Newbury about their faith, holding public talks, running extensive preaching efforts (campaigns) the first of which was in 1957. In 1967 there was a stand at the Newbury Show when over 3,000 people passed through the 'Destiny of Man' exhibition.