Norwich Central Baptist Church is the product of two main events: Primarily: the merger of Dereham Road Baptist Church and St. Mary’s Baptist Church. Secondarily: the decision to use the St Mary’s Baptist Church premises as the venue for the merged church.
The following admission is long overdue. Dereham Road Baptist Church’s view on both of these events was initially wrong, whereas the St. Mary’s congregation were at least right from the very beginning that the merger should take place. Initially, however, almost everyone was of the opinion that if the churches merged the Dereham Road premises would be the venue to use and that the fate of the St Mary’s building would be demolition. However, after the merger of the two churches, minds began to change on the on venue question and in this, as with the merger, the St. Mary’s congregation lead the way.
It’s going to be a tough admission for some, but it is clear that God spoke through the St. Mary’s congregation first; not the Dereham Road congregation. I can say this because I’m the first to admit that I got it wrong on both counts. However, perhaps it was easier for me than some to eventually admit I had got it wrong: at the time I was very careful not to back myself into a super spiritual corner by claiming my (wrong) views were based on what “God was saying” or a superior gnostic insight. The gnostic spirituality that sometimes influences evangelicalism is part of the problem rather than part of the solution. (there I go again, slagging off Christian gnosticism)
So, many thanks to God’s servants at the original St. Mary’s Baptist Church who helped bring us to where we are now. Special thanks should also go to the efforts of Rev. David Milner, Mrs. Mary McLarty, and to Rev. Neil Walker; in particular the latter spoke very well at one church meeting and helped me correct my views.