The history of the Granville Baptist Church begins with the evangelistic thrust of the Parramatta Baptist Church in the early 1880’s, led by its Pastor, Rev. J. Straughen. Supported by that church, Mr. W. Ardill commenced Sunday School meetings in rented premises at The Victoria Hall, South Street, Granville, on 2nd September, 1883. Worship services also began in the hall and were met with encouraging response.
So great, in fact, was the response of the Granville community, that in a very short time the fellowship looked towards erecting its own building. Suitable land was purchased in Blaxcell Street, Granville, at a cost of 168.0.0, and a modest building erected upon that land at a cost of 268.0.0. This building was officially opened on 19th April, 1885, with Rev. J. Straughen speaking in the morning, Rev. J. A Soper conducting a Children’s Service in the afternoon, and Rev. F. Hibberd speaking in the evening. The fellowship was active, and firmly established in its own building and recognised by the surrounding community as a church.
On Thursday, 11th October, 1888, a public meeting and devotional service was held in the Blaxcell Street church building, at which Rev. J. Straughen, J. D. Brown, and J. A Soper and a number of Parramatta Baptist Church members were present. Rev. J. A Sop er, President of the Baptist Union of New South Wales (1888-89), presided, and at the close of the devotional meeting, the Granville Baptist Church was constituted as an accredited church in the Baptist Union of New South Wales with fifteen foundation members. The foundation members were:
- Mr. and Mrs. Barnicoat.
- Miss Sarah Barnicoat.
- Mr. J. Clague.
- Mrs. Hillier.
- Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Marcroft.
- Mr. and Mrs. F. Marcroft.
- Mr. and Mrs. T. Osborn.
- Miss M. A. Osborn.
- Miss Eliza Osborn.
- Miss Mabel Rice.
- Miss A. E. Whiteford.
Mr. J. W. Marcroft was elected Secretary, Mr. J. Clague was elected Treasurer, and Miss A.E. Whiteford as Organist.
Rev. J.Straughen continued to oversee the church in an honorary capacity, alongside his pastoral function at Parramatta Baptist Church, until his resignation in January, 1897. At a Special Church Meeting on 6th January, 1897, the church discussed whether to unite with the Parramatta Baptist Church, or act independently in the Granville area. It was decided to maintain the church in Granville, and Rev.E.Price undertook to act as Pastor in an honory capacity; this he did until 1901 when the church called its first full-time Pastor, Rev. C. T. Way.
Rev. C. T. Way commenced his ministry in February, 1901, and continued until June, 1905, when he accepted a call to” the position of Superintendent of Northern Rivers District.
Rev. H. D. Archer, who had been ministering in the Castlemaine Baptist Church, Victoria, accepted a call to the pastorate of the church and commenced on 22nd October, 1905. In 1907 he resigned and went to live in Bathurst due to poor health.
After consultation with Rev. A. J. Waldock, President of the Baptist Union of New South Wales (1906-07), the church issued a call to Rev. A. Metters of Devonport, Tasmania. Rev. Metters had a brief ministry at Granville during which time he also had pastoral oversight of the Liverpool Baptist Church. The pressures of a divided pastorate led to Rev. Metters leaving Granville.
A BUILDING TAKES SHAPE
The pastorate of the church was vacant for eight months until Rev. C. T. Way accepted a call to enter a second term of ministry in Granville on 3rd September, 1908. Rev. Way purchased a block of land on the corner of the intersection of William Street and South Street, Granville, intending to build a residence for himself upon it. At a special meeting of the church on Monday, 6th December,I909, it was decided to purchase the block for 130.0.0.
Building of the present day church was commenced in early 1911, the com memoration stones being laid on 29th April, 1911, by Rev. C. T. Way and J. Barker, President of the Baptist Union (1910-11), and Mrs. W. Buckingham.
On Saturday, 28th October, 1911, the new church building was officially opened by Mr. W. Buckingham, with a door opening ceremony at 3.15pm followed by a dedicatory service, during which an appropriate message delivered by Rev. B. Gawthrop. On Sunday, 29th October, 1911, the first services were conducted by Revs. C. T. Way, at 11.00am, C. J. Tinsley, at 3.00pm (assisted by former scholars of the Sunday School, Revs. F. Robinson, C. E. Marcroft and J. E. Leech) and J. Barker, at 7.15pm. On Tuesday, 31st October, 1911, an Inaugural Tea was held in the school hall, participants paying a ticket fee of 1/9d, and this was followed at 7.45pm by a Public Meeting chaired by Mr. W. Ardill, with messages delivered by Rev. A J. Waldock and Rev. L. E. Tranter, in the new church.
On the following Sunday, 5th November, 1911, speakers were Rev. Dr. T. Porter, at the 11.00am service, and Rev. D. Steed, at the 7.15pm service. Within’ a few weeks the first marriage was preformed in the new building between Mr. H. Patten, son of the Secretary, and Miss E. Marcroft, daughter of the Treasurer. A fitting and happy occasion for the whole church.
On Sunday, 21st August, 1910, farewell services were held in the Blaxcell Street building; Rev. E. Price speaking in the morning, and Rev. J. Straughen in the evening. The Blaxcell Street building was carefully dismantled, and re-erected upon the new site behind the new church building. During this relocation the
Sunday School meetings were conducted in the Columbia Hall, Good Street, Granville.