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Copyright © Bar Hill Church 2013-16    Registered charity No: 1170176

Bar Hill Church Centre, Hanover Close, Bar Hill, Cambridge CB23 8EH 01954 206120  Minister: Reverend Charles Mather


The History of Bar Hill Church?


Many churches in Great Britain have a story that stretches over hundreds of years. Bar Hill's history extends over forty years or so. The first residents arrived in May 1967, and plans for a church for the new village began four years before that. From the beginning the aim was to include members of all the main Christian denominations.


In the early years there was a team of two part-time ministers, one representing the Anglican Church and the other the free churches. The window in the Worship Centre represents the original six denominations. Two have since merged, and the denominations now are the Baptist Union, the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church. The fifth is the Society of Friends, with whom we have a covenant relationship; and there is also a link with the Roman Catholic Church, which shares in the ownership of our buildings. It took ten years to resolve how new members were to be received into all the denominations involved as well as into the local church.

A house in Acorn Avenue was provided for the Free Church minister by a private donor. The church in Bar Hill first met there for worship, then in a builders' hut. Meanwhile funds were raised for a building, with a target of £126,000. In reaching that, much help was received from the community and local churches. In 1971 work began on the Octagon. When completed a year later it had a worship hall, a chapel (now a kitchen) and a meetings room.

Moving on

The pattern of ministry changed in 1980, when it was decided that for the growing village the part-time ministers would be replaced by a single minister who would be recognised by all the partnering denominations. The Church of England provided a house in Stonefield for the first full-time minister.

By 1986 it was clear that the church had outgrown its building. For a few years services were held in the school because the congregation could no longer fit into the Octagon. Fund raising began for the present Worship Hall. The first phase was completed in 1991 at a cost of £682,000. Phase 2, the kitchen and toilets, was added in early 1995.

Over the years there have been many changes. The things that matter remain the same: members of the partnering denominations, and others, continue to worship and witness together. The members continue to serve the community and now work towards our new aim of being a mission-shaped church.

The full story of the church's first thirty years is told in From Experiment to Experience, a 64-page booklet available from the Bookstall. For details of how to obtain it by post contact Jenny Knight via the Webmaster (


1967-70: Rev. Bill King, Congregational

1967-74: Rev. Hugo de Waal, Anglican (later Bishop of Thetford)

1970-4: Rev. Donald McIlhagga, URC

1974-81: Rev. Richard Smart, Anglican

1976-80: Rev. Gladys Seymour, Baptist

1980-1: Rev. Bill Casto, visiting minister, American Methodist Church

1982-94: Rev. James Newcome, Anglican (now Bishop of Carlisle)

1982-7: Rev. Ronald Speirs, associate minister, URC

1987-93: Rev. James Lawrence, assistant minister, Anglican

1995-2005: Rev. Gary Renison, Anglican

2006-2011: Rev. Ruth Adams, Anglican

2012- present: Rev. Charles Mather, URC