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'It is a story that needed telling'

A new book chronicling the fascinating history of Upton Vale Baptist Church in Torquay is set to be released 

UPTON VALE BOOK COVER500From humble beginnings in a Torquay back street in 1832, Upton Vale Baptist Church has become one of the best known nonconformist churches in England.

This month (June) a book titled A church built by God to make disciples written by David Scott will be launched chronicling the church’s fascinating history against a backdrop of changing times both nationally and in Torbay.

The 310-page book with illustrations is full of rich stories about the people who have sustained the fellowship and the ministers who have faithfully served them.

It charts Upton Vale’s growth alongside that of Torquay and the national Baptist movement and the rise of a church described by one commentator as ‘the cathedral of nonconformity in the west’.

When Charles Spurgeon, one of the most famous pulpit orators of all time, preached in 1864 nearly 2,000 packed into the 800-seat church at both the morning and evening services.

The ups and downs of everyday church life are vividly recorded along with the changing times and the day in 1986 when the church was nearly burnt to the ground.

The book outlines the ministries of Stanley Voke, Dr Raymond Brown, Peter Barber, David Coffey and Andrew Green.

Many of the recent stories are told through the eyes of the people who have witnessed major changes over the last 40 years, and 12 current members of the congregation give their testimonials.

David, a church member since 1990, is a former newspaper editor who set up his own journalism training company. He said, 'It is a story that needed telling before many wonderful memories were lost. Upton Vale has played a major part in Torquay life and helped the formation of several nearby Baptist churches. It is popular with holidaymakers all year round.'

The book’s launch will take place at a tea and historical exhibition at 5pm to be held at Upton Vale on Sunday June 23 to which anyone who has ever been connected with the church is invited.

For further details contact either David Scott at DScottTorq@aol.com or the Upton Vale church office.

Baptist Times, 17/06/2019
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