Gathering of members at the laying of the foundation Stone.
Neighbours, chauffeurs and gardeners are looking over the hedge.
In the beginning there was an Idea, then an Inspiration, then a Commitment and so Hutton and Shenfield Union Church was founded. The momentous decision to establish a multidenominational church was taken on October 28th 1912 and, after further discussions, it was agreed that the Fellowship should be open to “all who desire to aid one another in the endeavour to live a life inspired by the Spirit and Teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ” and so the Union Church, unique at that time, began.
Imagine the excitement amongst the 56 people who attended the first service of the new church which took place at Brentwood Congregational Church (now Brentwood URC) on June 5th 1913. Just over a month later the foundation stones of the building on Hutton Mount, that we know today, were laid.
1914 Opening Ceremony and Services to dedicate the new church buildings.
The Rev Thompson called as our first permanent minister.
1919 Young People’s Christian Circle was formed, with the membership quickly rising to 40. This group initially catered for 15-30 year olds with the Youth Fellowship starting soon after to cater for the 15-18 year olds. The Sunday School was also thriving with approx. 60 children attending each Sunday afternoon.
1926 Rev Burgoyne appointed on the sudden death of the Rev Thompson.
1936 The Rev Andrew James, formerly of Bradford, called.
1938 Silver Jubilee Celebrations.
1939 The Junior Church started with 30 children regularly attending.
The war years saw many troops billeted in the Shenfield area, with the church opening its premises to run a services canteen catering for up to 200 people at a time. Evacuee children from London were also welcomed on Sundays and a school was set up for 250 children evacuated from Leyton.
1946 Former Forces Chaplain the Rev George Hill appointed.
1952 Sunday School Room added to house the ever expanding number of children attending on a Sunday
1960 Dr John Gregory took over as our minister.
1962 Small Hall opened.
1963 50th Anniversary Celebrations with church members writing and performing “Venture of Faith”.
1966 The Rev Edward Smalley became our minister and oversaw the rest of the “swinging sixties”.
1971 The amalgamation of the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches as the United Reformed Church. The Union Church then affiliating to the URC as well as our continuing membership of the Baptist Union.
1972 Rev Smalley appointed as the General Superintendent of the Eastern
Area of the Baptist Union.
1973 The Rev Edmund Banyard became our minister and we celebrated our 60th Anniversary. Rev Banyard is a well known Christian writer and broadcaster and we enacted some of his Christian musicals. “The Alien” (the story of Ruth), with music by our Musical Director Graham Bishop, also being performed in Canterbury Cathedral.
1977 Three of our Sunday services televised by the BBC, two of them going out live!
1985 Church member, Michael Powell, having felt the call to ministry, became our first Associate Minister before moving onto a ministry of his own two years later.
1987 The Rev Graham Corderoy became our minister, and following prayer and discussion, an exciting period of re-development began. Level access was created, small rooms were demolished to provide a flexible open space and a new entrance leading in from the car park was constructed. A coffee bar and church office were also built so that we could better serve the local community. A small room at the base of the Tower was adapted to become a Chapel for private meditation and prayer, which is still in use today from 8:30am to dusk each day.
1994 Colin Hunt, a member of the Union Church, became our second Associate Minister after he too felt the call to ministry. Colin held this post until his retirement in 2007.
1997 Rev Tony Coates became our minister.
As the new millennium approached a concerted attempt was made to more clearly define the church’s role and mission. To this end a Pastoral Care Team was formed and a Youth Worker employed.
2003 90th Anniversary celebrations and the appointment of the Rev David Lewis as our Minister.
2011 Ambitious plans for major refurbishments of the Sanctuary started, for which significant contributions were the legacies from Edna and Evelyn Turff who had faithfully served this church for over 80 years.
2012 The refurbishment of the Sanctuary completed. We now have a magnificent, light and welcoming area in which to worship.
2009 Steve Tinning became our Minister in Training. As an additional placement Steve was working with Harold Hill Urban Expression Church whilst studying at Spurgeon's College.
2012 Lisa Kerry became our Minister in Training, before moving into full time ministry in 2013.
2013 - 100 YEARS OF HUTTON AND SHENFIELD UNION CHURCH
Events took place throughout the year including concerts, a visual and performing arts festival, a revival of Edmund Banyard’s “The Maker of Things”, a family fun day, a garden party, an anniversary dinner and celebratory services.
Each month during 2013 a visiting preacher came to our pulpit with the first six months reflecting our history and the latter part of the year focussing on looking forward.
2015 Alex Newens, formerly our Youth Worker, became our Minister in Training.
2017 Alex ordained and takes on a ministry of his own.
2016 The Rev Paul Ellis becomes our minister.
The church premises continue to be well used, subject to COVID restrictions in 2020/2021, both by church groups and the wider community. We are members of Hutton and Shenfield Churches Together and The Red Balloon Foundation assists us with our work with children and young people.
Over the last few years we have begun to see a period of growth, we have welcomed several new members, young families have joined us and we have had teenagers and adults committing themselves to Christ through believer’s baptism.
As our founders had planned we continue to be an ecumenical church with people from many different Christian backgrounds worshipping with us.
Throughout our history church members, and members of their families have been involved in missionary work overseas, and this continues today.
And so we come full circle, with our continued commitment to our founders original statement, that we welcome “all who desire to aid one another in the endeavour to live a life inspired by the Spirit and Teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ” The ecumenical spirit of the church community is as strong today as it was then and we welcome members of all denominations into our fellowship.