Throughout its long history the work at Stoneham Road has been going on and the challenge of the Gospel has never ceased.
In the very early days neither the Superintendent nor any of the speakers who came to preach God’s Word of Salvation were ever paid. The names of the multitude of splendid helpers who down the years have given unstintingly of time and talent cannot be given, but we feel their names are written in Heaven.
The Sunday School has been carried on unbrokenly throughout its 100 years although it has changed its name to Junior Church. The Bible Class has had its breaks through-out its many years and we are glad to see our teenagers coming along in to-day’s world eager to learn more of our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ.
Originally the meeting for ladies was called the “Mothers Meeting”, it changed to the “Women’s Own” and today the “Women’s Fellowship” although one does occasionally hear it called by its old name. The Men’s Meeting has unfortunately stopped, but in its early days had a happy Gospel Service. The old Sewing Class which did such splendid work in the old days changed to the Girl’s Guildry and had four sections. The small girls were called the poppies, with their pretty red frocks, then came The Speedwells, then the Guildry Section. Again this has changed again, and today the Girls work is called The Girl’s Brigade. It still has its different sections, but are now the Exploreres, Juniors, Seniors and Brigaders.
Just recently they have changes their uniforms to a more modern outfit, very economical in today’s world.
Today we still have The Robins for our younger boys and they still, each week repeat their motto, to “Set Thine Heart Towards the Highway”
Unfortunately our Boy’s Brigade Company had to cease owing to the lack of boys and leaders to run such evenings.
Looking back to its early days we also know of other meetings that used to be held at “Stoneham” such as:
The Boy’s Life Brigade - The Life Boys - Band of Hope - Christian Endeavour who on its first anniversary had the Rev. Charles Spurgeon, the great Preachers son as their speaker. At this time he was the Minister of Holland Road Baptist Church. Another meeting that followed later was the Cosy Club. Also the Men’s Meeting - this has changed its format by having a recreational time together and when that time comes around for a ‘cup of tea’ they have a time of devotion followed by prayer.
Another meeting that has unfortunately ceased is the Young Wives. Our prayers are that with so many families connected to our departments we may be able to reach these ‘mums’ for the Lord and who knows what potential they may have, in forwarding the Love of Christ to their families.
At one time the Church had a very fine choir which sang many Sacred Songs and led the Services, such as “The Motto on the Wall”, “Better Be Safe Than Sorry”. “Simon Jasper” and “The Rock of Ages”.
Our Founder was very fond of singing and to hear the men of the congregation singing one of the fifty or more choruses for which he has composed some lovely melodies was an inspiration. How faithfully and whole heartedly the ministry of song has been at the Church. Also in the early days there used to be a Young Peoples Fellowship for teenagers and people in their twenties: Also in the 1970’s a new Y.P.F. was formed and both proved a means of blessing to many young Christians in enabling them to begin to use the gifts which have been given them by God.
It should be put on record that in the year 1901 the Mission became united to Holland Road Baptist Church of which Mr Sadler was a deacon, and that Church and ourselves have enjoyed since then, a common membership until 1956.
We gratefully acknowledge all the help which the deacons and friends have given throughout the many years and in the Ministers of that Church. The Rev. David Davies, Rev. Charles Spurgeon, Rev. Frank Thompson and the Rev. Tydeman Chilvers. It was these staunch friends who helped the Church over many difficult places and did all they could to promote the welfare of Stoneham Hall.
For many years the work was known as Stoneham Hall Mission Church, but there again a change took place in 1956 when a Foundation Service was held together with our Founders to become Stoneham Road Baptist Church. That Service was jointly conducted by the Rev. H.V. Larcombe BA. BD., the Rev. E.G. Rudman and Mr F.W. Sadler. The hymns on that special evening were “We come unto our Father’ God” “The Church’s One Foundation” and “Jesus Thou Everlasting King”. To close such a commendable Service they shared around The Lords Table.
Our beloved Founder was called into His Saviour’s Home on Saturday January 17th 1959. At the Memorial Service that was held on January 29th, the following took part. The Rev. F. A. Hart, The Rev. H. C. Wilkins and Mr Douglas Combridge. One of the many tributes paid to Mr Sadler is one I myself can remember him by, “How much is owed by how many to the one life taken from us”. And I am one of many who as a boy could not forget the striking white beard, and certainly could not miss the twinkle of those piercing eyes”.
His beloved partner who shared so much of those early days and throughout his ministry was called to be with him and their Lord in the July of 1961.