Brief History of the Beginnings of our Church and Commencement of the Present Gospel Witness
Prior to 1920, Welling was a quiet market-gardening village with a long and narrow High Street that boasted only 1,500 inhabitants. By 1935 its population had increased to over 30,000 and is still growing rapidly. Thousands of additional houses were built or planned for construction, but provision for public worship was sadly neglected.
In the summer of 1933 the Rev. W.H.P. Goodchild (Pastor of The People's Hall, The Slade, Plumstead, April 1932 - November 1938), realising the spiritual needs of Welling, toured the district with a view to securing a site upon which a Gospel Witness might be started.
At this time information was received that the ex-Primitive Methodist Chapel, in Upper Wickham Lane, would be shortly coming onto the market. This Chapel was built in 1899 at a cost of £1,200. Negotiations were opened and the building and adjoining ground purchased for £1,250 freehold. This action was made possible by four Christian friends interested in the Spiritual welfare of Welling, becoming Guarantors at the Bank. The installation of electric light, redecoration, reseating, renovations and cleansing were all done by voluntary labour and central heating installed.
The Opening and Rededication Service
This took place on Thursday November 22nd 1934. The Church was packed full with grateful souls, whose praises caused the place to ring again with "To God be the glory, great things He hath done."
After Dr Jesse Sayer had preached the Dedication Sermon, The Rev. W.H.P. Goodchild - The Superintendent Minister, introduced Pastor Herbert J. Ludbrook whose acceptance of the Pastorate was greatly appreciated. God's hand of blessing rested upon the undertaking from the very first and great has been the encouragement as "the Lord has added to the Church such as are being saved". A Trust Deed to safeguard the Spiritual aspect of the work was legally drawn up which requires the Trustees, Minister and all Church Officers to sign annually their acceptance of the Doctrinal Basis of the Church. The Trustees are Rev. W.H.P. Goodchild (Chairman), Pastor H.J. Ludbrook, Mr J.J.H. Clark and Mr. Walker Heddle (Trustees' secretary).
With rapid growth or the work, additional premises were urgently required. To meet this a Sunday School Hall and Primary Room were erected and furnished at a cost of £900. The Sunday School Hall being fitted with a temporary end for an extension when necessary and funds permit.
The opening Ceremony and Dedication Service of the Sunday School building was held on Wednesday September 22nd 1937, in the presence of a large company of friends, some of whom remembered the original Church being built and opened in 1899.
With a slight adjustment of the Guarantors the number was increased to five. At the General Church Meeting held on Thursday September 15th 1938, the Church Rules were adopted and at a Church Members' Meeting held on October 10th 1938, the first deacons were elected.