Richmond Hill St. Andrews Church
A welcome at the heart of Bournemouth
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Christchurch and Poole are ancient seaports and historic towns. The Victorians discovered Bournemouth in the 19th century and developed the fledgling town as a fashionable sea side resort and healthy place in which to live.
Our first church here was established in 1856 and soon enlarged in 1891 as Bournemouth grew and grew.
Richmond Hill soon attracted distinguished ministers like J D Jones, John Short and Trevor Davies. Their preaching helped the congregation to grow in the days when the more highly esteemed preachers attracted people, not only from the whole of the United Kingdom, but from all round the world.
The International Congregational Council met in Bournemouth on July 1st-8th 1930, a sure sign that Bournemouth was really on the map. Delegates traveled from as far away as Canada, Australia, Africa, America and Japan - no mean feat in those days.
All the ministers mentioned above were at one time, Chairmen of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. JD Jones was also its honorary Secretary.
Richmond Hill attracted many well known local business families such as the Beales, Bollams, Brights, Olds, the Aldridges and the Scotts. We were also indirectly a major influence in the politics of the Town. It was rumoured that many of the decisions in the Town Council were made in our vestry with several Mayors and Aldermen being amongst our congregation. Local businesses have flourished here and are now part of national and international companies.
The confident days of nineteenth century nonconformity are shown in the grandeur of the building and in the possession of a prime site right opposite the Town Hall. We have seen the town of Bournemouth grow around us as an important commercial centre for the area. Offering seven miles of golden sands and the famous Pier which attracts holiday makers each year to the many excellent hotels.
The church overlooks Bournemouth Town Centre and its beautiful gardens from the site on St Stephen's Road, Richmond Hill from which the church takes its name. Today we are in a strong Town Centre Ecumenical Partnership. We combined with other churches for a Mission in 1995 and also for a major United Service at the Bournemouth International Centre to mark the new Millennium in January 2000. We contributed to the Millennium Candle in the Square.
When all three political Parties come to Bournemouth for their Conferences, as they now do, we share with others in the leading of their opening prayers. Such local unity reflects the basic conviction of the United Reformed Church. In 1972, Congregationalists and Presbyterians in England and Wales combined to form one Church. They were later joined by Churches of Christ. The hope was that this be only the start of wider unions. Progress is slow but evident.
In all our activities from worship to marriage preparation we listen to what other churches are saying and doing. In some instances we have learned to respect our differing convictions. We are also more sensitive, we trust, to strengthening mutual undertanding with Jews and Muslims, a vital necessity in a town which is noted for its Jewish population and for a congregation which has the Islamic Centre as its nearest neighbour.
In our prayers Sunday by Sunday we embrace the world.
United Reformed congregations belong to the largest Protestant groupings in the world. But our founding fathers and mothers intended originally to reform without dividing the one holy catholic Church of the ancient creeds. In the 16th century they failed in that attempt and that remains a tragedy of history.
But today we are working on the same project, to unite and to reform, in order that the whole Church may better and more lovingly serve God's mission in the world in Jesus Christ, encouraged always by the Spirit.
1859 - 1869 Rev. Nicholas Hurry
1869 - 1872 Rev. H. Ribton Cooke
1873 - 1886 Rev. William Jackson
1888 - 1897 Rev. J. Ossian Davies
1898 - 1937 Rev. J.D. Jones CH. MA. DD.
1937 - 1951 Rev. John Short MA. DD. Ph.D
1951 - 1971 Rev. J. Trevor Davies MA. DD. Ph.D
1972 - 1979 Rev. A. Peter Williams BA. BD.
1981 - 1987 Rev. John MacKelvie MA. BD.
1988 - 1994 Rev. Roger J. Hall BA.
1995 - 2005 Rev. Donald W. Norwood MA.
2005 -2012 Rev. Martin Ambler BA.
2013 - 2014 Rev Nick Adlem
We invite your interest, your comment and your help.