Broadstone Baptist Church
The Enduring Light on Bailey's Hill
The Shoe Shop and the Postman. Our story doesn’t actually start in York Road nor does it commence with a church building, but it was most certainly founded in Broadstone!
The man we have to thank for establishing the church we now know as Broadstone Baptist Church was a gentleman by the name of Harold Frank Joiner, born on the 2nd of April 1892 in Winterbourne Kingston to Sarah and Elias. Frank’s birth certificate refers to Elias as a Master Shoemaker.
In 1911 we can pick up the story from the renowned Kelly’s Local Directory where we read of ‘Joiner, Elias Frederick – Boot Maker – Sandy Lane’. This establishes Frank’s father as now running his boot and shoe business from the family home at what we now know as Clarendon Road, Broadstone.
Staying with the Kelly’s trade directories we can trace the evolution and location of the Joiner family footwear business for subsequent years. We now jump twelve years to 1923 and with son Frank now aged thirty one we see the entry as Joiner, Elias Frederick & Son – Shoe Retailer & Boot Maker - Blandford Road. This was the big step for the family to invest in one of the few retail premises emerging on Blandford Road, Broadstone, now known as The Broadway. As well as helping in the family shop he also had part time work collecting insurance policy payments and then became the village postman.
The premises of E.F. Joiner & Son (Boot Makers and Shoe Repairers) in the Broadway Circa 1927. (Now Papa Johns Pizza’s). Son-Harold “Frank” Joiner poses outside the shop most likely with Elsie (Peggy) Joiner his niece.
Here is Harold "Frank" Joiner on duty in Broadstone Village in his General Post Office uniform and with his trusty delivery bicycle. Could this be in York Road? Nice to speculate, He would be very proud of the evangelical movement he began 90 years ago.
The Bible Class and the Awkward Plot of Land. Frank was a committed Christian and in 1928 he had a vision of the district’s need for a witness to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. So together with his wife Violet, whom he had married in 1916, they started a weekly evening Bible Class in a room over his father’s shoe shop in the Broadway. They adhered to Elim doctrines. So, whilst soles were being sorted on the ground floor, Frank used the upper room to bring saving grace to the souls of the Broadstone populous. How wonderful!
Others with a similar passion joined and soon they were outgrowing the room, needing a much larger location in which to gather and grow. The church family they had established needed a building. First, they needed the land, and prayerfully with faith and courage, the group of believers began to organise themselves and research the task of building a new local church.
Early in 1933 Frank & Violet started looking at locally available land and then one day the Lord guided them to the vacant piece of gorse-covered ground on the hill in nearby York Road, which they bought for just £60. Apart from the gradient, it was a strange shape like an offcut, at its deepest it was 191ft narrowing to 159ft, which meant a very approximate square footage of 24,000 square feet or 55% of an acre.
Also, immediately adjacent to the plot that the Joiners acquired stood Purbeck Villa, which was the residence of one Frank Bailey in 1893. Hence the hill on which the church now stands was known at the time by all the locals as “Bailey’s Hill”.
Work began in earnest with the objective of having the church completed and ready for worship by Christmas. No doubt with many willing hands the goal was achieved and the first service was held on Sunday December the fifteenth 1933. Frank and Violet had made the personal sacrifice and given the site as unto the Lord and the Broadstone Elim Tabernacle led by Pastor Joiner was set fair for a long and healthy future.
In the final months of 1933 as the finishing touches were being completed, the church was still without proper seating. However just at the right moment they learnt that a local church was considering the purchase of new seating and Frank was able to procure the older pews very reasonably just as the building was due to be dedicated. God’s providence revealed.
The first service was held in mid-December 1933 with Pastor Frank Joiner officiating. The building became known locally as “The Tin Tabernacle”. Although re-designated in 1945 as the “Broadstone Evangelical Free Church” the building remained in regular use for the next forty-one years! During those years the church had five pastors with the longest serving being Harry Rogers who served for 27 years. Sadly Frank Joiner who got things moving only served for three years from 1933 to 1936 due to failing health.
The earliest photograph we have located of “The Tabernacle” at the foot of the hill. The church sign on the right denotes it is the “Evangelical Free Church” so it is post 1940.
A late thirties shot of the inside of the Broadstone Elim tabernacle with its ridge roof and wooden bench pews. The legend on the back wall declares “ The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin”
Apparently the church would get very full on occasions, which then meant standing room only outside the building. Folk would still join in the proceedings including the singing! The children would assemble outside the Joiner's shoe shop in the Broadway and then be led in 'crocodile" formation down York Road to the church to attend Sunday School. What a wonderful image that conjures up!
In the March 29th 1935 Issue of “The Elim Evangel” magazine they carried the following editorial item
ADDING TO THE CHURCH
Broadstone, Dorset, The saints at Broadstone continue to rejoice in the blessings which are being showered upon them. God is setting His seal on the work by saving souls and adding to the Church. On a recent Sunday evening six new members were received into fellowship. Looking back over the past year hearts are full of praise to God from whom all blessings flow. Ofttimes the number that gathered has been small, but now the Spirit of God is drawing many, and the Elim Tabernacle in York Road is becoming the home of a heaven breathed revival. Praise His holy name!
New Years Day 1978 and most of Dorset is blanketed in snow. The incumbent at the time was Roy Whittall, our sixth pastor who served for thirteen years up to July 1989. He recalls “Everything ground to a halt for three days. The community spirit was wonderful with no cars and everyone chatting to their neighbours”
A happy scene in 1995 with lots of excited children outside the renamed Broadstone Baptist Church around 1995. The man rear left with his arms raised is Pastor David Davison - the eighth pastor. (April 1993 for 12 years)
Broadstone Baptist Church (BBC) in 2007 and the ninth and current Pastor, Tm Gamston is at the door in conversation. He began his tenure
in July 2005 having moved with his young family from Gloucestershire. It was his first ministerial posting. At that time the church ran its own minibus.
A busy morning service at BBC in 2008 with Pastor Tim Gamston leading the worship. Most Sundays the church was jam packed which led to the diaconate taking action.
Time for church building number three. In 2008, with the church congregation of adults and children still growing and the Marley style building showing its age, the diaconate, together with the church members, took the decision to initiate a project to create a totally new, much larger church facility. When completed, the new church complex facility would create a modern, attractive and flexible facility, to enable us to better serve the community and continue to reach out with the Gospel.
Designs were submitted, discussed at length, architects were selected, finalised drawings were put before Poole Council and planning permission was granted. The design made very clever use of the flat and sloped elements of the site to give us a double-storey building linked to a larger worship hall. The layout of the complex also allowed for construction in two major phases, which was to prove greatly beneficial.
A mountain to climb but we remain committed. As explained the design of the complete new building comprised a two storey worship hall up on the flat section and a two storey community building rising up the hill.
This three-dimensional cut-away illustration helped enormously with our fund raising by giving everyone a clear idea of our project vision. When seeking funding it was necessary to indicate how and where the money would be utilised. Phase one is on the right and the bigger building (Phase two) is on the left.
Our pictures show the construction of the community building as it grew upwards from the lowest corner. A very thick and strong retaining wall had to be built to stop any ground movement. It's an impressive building with its tall, inverted pyramid of windows to brighten the rooms.
Having successfully completed the community building which opened in 2015 our focus reverted to the getting the larger worship hall and foyer built and with funds virtually back at the start, we stepped out in prayer and faith once again.
Throughout the project, the vast majority of the money came from the gracious and unconditional giving by the church family itself, both monthly and on specific gift days. Other funding came from other churches, individuals and Christian charitable trusts. The church is also immensely grateful to the Talbot Village Trust, who gave the project inertia via a sizeable donation.
By early 2019 funding had reached a level where we had confidence to discuss a contract with Matrod Frampton, our Wimborne based builder of choice. So it was that in December 2019, we evacuated the hall that had served so well for 45 years. In January 2020, site clearance and demolition was underway, ready for the surveyors to set out the limits of the new building.
Plans, plots and a pastors manse. By the late sixties the timber frame building was showing signs of age and a completely new church building was required, plus a manse was essential in order to attract a permanent pastor to the area. Thus in 1972 the deacons conceived a grand plan to build a pair of semi-detached houses on the site of the original church at the bottom of the hill. The left-hand property would comprise the pastor’s manse with the steeply sloped area serving as a garden and vegetable plot.
The right hand semi-detached three bedroom house was sold off to fund both the manse and a new “Marley” shell construction church on the flatter land at the very top of the site. Excellent utilisation of the resource of the valuable plot of land that God made available at the outset.
All went to plan and in late 1974 the new Broadstone Evangelical Church was opened by ex-Pastor Harry Rogers. The move to the top of the hill. Although there was some inevitable sentimentality the church fellowship was excited to move into the bigger, stronger and warmer new building.
Apart from being renamed in 1984 as “Broadstone Baptist Church”, structurally little has changed, although Portacabins were needed to provide Sunday School rooms and extra storage space.
Mounted on the upper section of the cladding is a bespoke, full size, wooden cross, crafted by Clive Baines, one of our elders who has cabinet making workshops in Dorchester. The locally sourced oak has been wrought, scorched and wire brushed to bring out the grain. It is back lit with LED lighting around its perimeter and stands as a reminder of Christ’s resurrection.
Entering the building, the spacious foyer gives direct access to the phase one community building, the stairs to the upstairs offices/meeting rooms and of course the new worship hall. It’s the proportions of the interior of the hall that make an instant but lasting impression. With a floor area of 160 square metres a large congregation can easily be accommodated and the ceiling, at a height of seven metres, is layered with acoustic panels to enhance sung worship.
The focal point within the hall is the large porthole window, centrally located on the rear wall, high up close to the apex. The bespoke artwork for the glass features a spectrum of vibrant colours, asymmetrically arranged with the cross of our Lord central to the theme. The segments around the outer circumference ring display the colours of the rainbow, starting with red at the 12 o’clock position, round to violet at 11 o’clock. “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth” Genesis 9 v 13 NIV
It’s the 17th of December 2020 and Matrod Frampton our appointed designer/builders have impressively completed their work on schedule and despite the enforced Covid lay-off at the end of March. To mark the occasion their contracts manager Tim Frampton handed over the keys to the builder to pastor Tim and Elder Brian Rawlings. Note those mandatory pesky face masks that we had learnt to live with.
Although technically all the primary fixtures and fittings and the carpeting was in place there was still a lot of work to be done in readiness for services and COVID regulations prohibited our gathering in serious numbers. So, we waited although our morning worship services were still being streamed and had established a substantial on-line following.
Winter 2021 became Spring, then Summer and then Autumn and another piece of the jigsaw was put in place with the appointment of Steven Driver to the newly created full-time position of Assistant Pastor. This is the first time in the 86-year history of the church that two pastoral positions will be active, supported by four elders and two deacons. Steven started alongside Pastor Tim Gamston on the 1st of September.
Over the last decade, the church has witnessed a significant growth in the size of the congregation and therefore a corresponding increase in the whole spectrum of pastoral care requirements. Pastor Tim explained “Following prolonged discussions with the elders and deacons, a decision was made two years ago to initiate and budget for an Assistant Pastor. However, the process of completing the new building, combined with the pandemic, inevitably delayed the new appointment until now.”
Finally, all was ready and the first official morning worship service without restrictions was held on Sunday the 5th of September 2021 a momentous day in the history of the church. It had taken thirteen years from the initiation of the project but in God’s providence it was completed, and we were totally debt free. Faith had been royally rewarded.
Taken at that first service on the 5th September 2021 our picture shows Steven Driver with Pastor Tim Gamston and the church elders being blessed and commissioned.
Mission accomplished ….. now the real mission begins.
Jesus said:- “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16 v 18 ESV