Newark
Christ Church

History

The original Newark Christ Church was first founded in 1837.

On 20 May 1919, at a council meeting, the vicar the Rev G H Casson outlined the idea for a new church and explained a method of raising the money. In the next month, the idea was debated but majority ruled for its commencement. In July, it was reported that there was a possible site on the east side of Albert Street, and consequently its position was decided here in September. However, there was no further mention of the progression of the new church in the Minute Book until much later. In 1932, the idea was revisited with price estimated to be £20,000 and there was discussion of an extension of the Parish boundaries, as a new housing site was to be built and named Hawtonville. Negotiations were made in due time and it was decided in the same year to accept the Town Council’s offer of an ideal island site of 1½ acres at the top end of Lime Grove at a total cost of £363. The vicar and church wardens visited every house of the parish in order to raise the money so that the site could be purchased. However, the schools of Christ Church were in need of refurbishments which made plans for a church extension difficult due to the cost.

In 1930, it was recorded by Mr Godsmark that there were a total of 645 scholars, so its importance for a well-presented school outweighed the need for extension. In 1936, it was decided instead that a new senior school was to be built in the parish of Hawton and the infant school was to be updated, while the others were to be sold. These plans were then altered again to build the new church instead of the new school. Work had commenced on the building of the new church hall but was stopped as war was declared in September 1939, due to the uncertainty this would bring. Permission was then obtained to complete the hall and was then opened by the Bishop of Southwell on the 6 March 1941. The new Church was used for services during the autumn and winter months between 1943 and 1945.

By 1953, the license to build the new church had expired so new plans were made. On 4 December 1954, Messrs F A Broadhead and Royle of Nottingham were invited to a Parochial Church Council meeting to prepare for a suggested plan for the new church. In 1955, Mr Royle submitted the suggested plans and they were approved - though some changes were made later with the church being made larger and more generously proportioned, at a higher cost. The new church was intended to accommodate 350 people with a maximum of 400. There was a high response from the people of the parish. The cost was estimated to be £29,000 but a grant of £6000 was given by the Church Commisioners with a further £6,600 from the Diocesan Bishop’s appeal fund. The Trustees also provided £2000.

On 1 December 1956, the foundation stone of the new church was Blessed by the Bishop of Southwell and laid on behalf of the trustees by Mr HJH Lamb. The architects were Messrs FA Broadhead and Royle, FRIBA of Nottingham and the general contractors were Messrs B Pumfrey, from Gainsborough. The oak eagle lectern, Bishop’s chair, credence table, pews, Book of Remembrance, war memorial plaque and all the Communion plate were taken to the new church. The brass alms dish given by Mrs Reed in 1881 was also retained for use. However, the pews from the old church were rebuilt, lengthened and installed in the central aisle.

The church was consecrated by Bishop of Southwell, the Rt Rev Russell Barry, 15 March 1958. On this day the Church was full to overflowing.

The grounds were laid out in a landscape fashion by Eric Rogerson, and surrounded by beech hedge. It was paid for by money donated and a number of people gave roses as personal gifts to the church. The rent from the old church provided the exact amount needed to maintain the grounds.

In his time, the Rev Mr Bardsley (1943 – 1965) founded the Young People’s Fellowship for young church members between ages 12 and 18 as well as the church fellowship for mature ages, used initially to provide help and rehabilitate those who returned after the war from the services. Meanwhile, Mrs Bardsley had started a Fellowship of Marriage group whilst maintaining the Mothers’ Union. When he decided to leave the church, Bardsley left it without debt. His successor was Charles Widdowson, who became Vicar in 1966. He was then followed by the Rev A D Williams in 1970. The Diocese attempted to establish a Team Ministry in Newark with Mr Williams as Priest-in-Charge at Christ Church and the Rev R Bell as Priest-in-charge at St Leonard’s. For various reasons this did not succeed.

In 1975, the Rev Stephen Oliver became vicar. He was linked with Christ Church infants school till 1987, attended the 10am Holy Eucharist where he was known as a brilliant preacher and worked at Radio Nottingham for much of his position. He later became senior producer of Religious Broadcasting in London. Also in 1975, there was a reattempt at establishing a Team Ministry giving the Team Vicar at each Church in Newark a specific role. The Rev Mr Oliver was made in charge of looking after the elderly and their needs.

The Rev M Maclachlan became Team Vicar in 1980, whilst the Rev G Knott became Team Vicar in 1986.

On 25 Jan 1996, ‘Churches Together’ was set up with the aims of working together, praying and worshipping together and encouraging members to feel part of the wider Body of Christ in Newark. Among the churches which signed the ‘statement of intent’ (at St Mary’s) was Christ Church along with 14 others (listed below).

Balderton Methodist Church

 

North End Methodist Church

Barnbygate Methodist Church

 

The Salvation Army, Newark Corps.

Charles Street Methodist Church

 

St Augustine Church, Church of England

Christ Church, Church of England

 

St Leonard’s Church, Church of England

Emmanuel Christian Centre, Assemblies of God

 

St Mary Magdalene Church, Church of England

Hawtonville Methodist Church

 

Winthorpe Road Baptist Church

Holy Trinity Church, Roman Catholic

 

London Road Congregational Church

Newark Baptist Church

 

 

In 1994, as well as being the first Deaconess, Annie Johnson became Newark’s first ordained woman priest, assisting at Christ Church.

In 1998, Rev R Harlow-Trigg became Team Vicar, followed by Frederick Olney in 2002 and Samantha Tredwell in 2007.