Same truth but different contexts and people.
There was a Baptist Church in Coventry believing the same Bible truths as we do now as early as 1652.
Hillfields Church Coventry (initially “Rehoboth” and then Lower Ford Street Baptist Church) has been on its present site since 1857. The initial members included a baker, watchmaker, ribbon manufacturer, weavers, cordwainer, and a gardener.
The desire to build a chapel then was frustrated because of difficulty in buying land on which to erect a nonconformist chapel. Eventually the present site in Lower Ford Street was obtained without opposition, and this led to the name “Rehoboth” — meaning “room” — reflecting the belief that the Lord had made room for them in Coventry. You can see the name “Rehoboth” on the sandstone plaque in the wall on the front of the building.
The church suffered during the two World Wars as many of its young men were killed and the Sunday School was stopped. The building itself miraculously survived the intense bombing in Coventry.
A significant step forward occurred in 1965 when Dr Peter Rowell became pastor and the church began to grow.
In 1985 Paul Watts became the pastor and the church took further steps forward and continued to grow.
Another significant step was appointing James & Lis Young in 2002 to develop the church’s links with the local community.
Since then the church has continued to grow both in numbers and in its range of activities.
In July 2014 the church completed a major remodelling of the whole site, with only the original roof, front and side walls remaining of the original building. This increased our useable space by 76% and enables us to serve both the church and the community far better.
In October 2017 Hillfields Evangelical Baptist Church (HEBC) asked Lower Ford Street Baptist Church to help them. HEBC was founded in 1918 and had a building in Jesmond Road. In 1975 they opened a new building in Waterloo Street which they had sacrificially built themselves. They subsequently left the Baptist Union. After the second world war they were faithfully served by pastors Les Sidwell, Richard Ross, and Andrew Taylor. Although they had known many years of gospel prosperity their numbers became reduced.
In 2018, in response to this request, Lower Ford Street Baptist Church agreed to enfold Hillfields Evangelical Baptist Church (HEBC). This means we become 1 church on 2 sites. The name of the enlarged church is Hillfields Church Coventry. The church is, of course, still a Baptist church.
Hillfields Church Coventry has always been independent but never isolationist. We are affiliated to the FIEC (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches), members of the Midlands Gospel Partnership and the Coventry Evangelical Forum, and linked with the Grace Baptist group of churches
The church is now led by a team of 4 elders with James Young as the lead elder. James Young and Paul Watts are co-pastors. On 1st May Simon Hook joins us an elder and co-pastor.
The people at the church are all ages and from some 30 different countries.
Over the years there have been huge changes both in the City of Coventry itself, and in the range of people coming to the church. However, the church has never changed its reliance on the Bible and its message that we have all sinned, we all need to be born again, and there is salvation for all who repent and trust in Jesus alone for salvation. Find out more about what we believe.