The tale of two Gospels Halls in one town – November 2020

Swindon was previously known as a the fastest growing town in the UK and is still expanding. In the 1950s the Penhill Estate in Swindon was built and children from the estate were being bused for Sunday school to a Gospel Hall in another part of the town. The Brethren assembly from that Gospel Hall decided to plant another church on the Penhill Estate and, having been gifted some land by the John Laing’s construction company, which built most of the estate, they put up the Penhill Gospel Hall.

Penhill Gospel Hall

Although they saw considerable growth and an amazing work among young people, in recent years the numbers have dwindled, and they decided not to reopen after the Covid-19 shutdown. The property has been gifted to Church Growth Trust and we are seeking a new evangelical church to take on the property and continue the Gospel work on the Penhill Estate.

Just outside Swindon in the village of Wroughton, there is another Gospel Hall. Markham Road Gospel Hall was built in the 1960s. However, the Gospel work started in Wroughton 93 years ago with a tent outreach from Regent Hall in Swindon and the present Gospel Hall replaced an old Nissan Hut previously on the site. They had a thriving assembly with over 100 children in the Sunday school, but again in recent years the assembly has declined in numbers and had a lack of leadership. They have considered whether to stop meeting, but through discussions with CGT they have been connected to Counties to see whether they can be part of a replant to bring in leadership, vision and new people to revitalise the Gospel work in the village.

Markham Road Gospel Hall

Wroughton has a population of 3,500 and is expanding with Wichelstow (a new development to the south of Swindon, which is planned to extend to the south of the M4 towards Wroughton) due to be built, with 4,500 houses. There is no church property planned for this new community. As Giles Arnold, Church Growth Trust’s Chief Executive says, “It is strategically vital that there is a strong evangelical witness in the village and we are delighted to be gifted this property in order to facilitate this happening. We look forward to working with the assembly and Counties as they plan for the future. Swindon continues to grow, but so does the Gospel work.”