In 2023 we celebrate the church’s centenary. Paul Williams retires as pastor after 25 years of fruitful ministry. Brian Whittaker takes over, having moved from South Wales to Swindon in 2021. But as we celebrate 100 years we continue to look outwards at the task ahead of us – to make disciples of Jesus Christ in Swindon and beyond.

Paul Williams

Paul Williams

Lead pastor from 1998 - 2022

Major Changes Throughout My Time

There are two changes in particular that stand out:

Church membership:

The congregation has radically changed over the last 25 years. When we arrived, the congregation were overwhelmingly from the UK, with many born in Swindon. But gradually, and joyfully, the congregation has become far more international, and today represents around 26 different nationalities. We have seen large numbers of Iranians pass through the church, with many of them being baptised here, and doing Farsi-medium Bible studies. We were also delighted to welcome our dear friends from Ukraine, consisting of a family of 17. All these people have been a blessing to us, enriching us with their presence.

Creating a Staff Team

Our first Assistant Pastor was Matthew Cottington. But since then, we have established a paid staff team, covering Administration, Women’s Pastoral Ministry, Youth and Children’s Ministry, and Pastoral Assistants, Assistant Pastor, and Associate Pastor, plus a number of Ministry Trainees. This has been necessary to enable the work and ministry of the church to develop. We are thankful and give God the praise.

“the offence of the cross has not ceased, and we might be subjected to ridicule and even persecution, but let us get on with the work.”

Mark Trafford

Mark Trafford


What are the areas of need within the church?

Whilst the Swindon Evangelical church has many needs, both practical and spiritual, most needs we can address. But the church should always be outward looking too. What other needs are we seeking to address? We know that within the community of Old Town there are those who are lonely. This might have arisen for various reasons, through bereavement, broken relationships or other means. So we have sought to provide a meeting, where those who don’t experience regular human interaction, can at least come and join us for conversation, coffee/tea and be cared for. But we believe meeting physical or emotional needs is not enough and also seek to meet spiritual needs. We respectfully and carefully with sensitivity introduce people to the person of Jesus Christ found in the gospels. Many have found comfort, help and new life trusting in Jesus.

We are conscious we live in challenging times and we seek to help asylum seekers and those who have been displaced. We are seeking to bring comfort to those who have had to leave family and friends in war torn areas and those who have fled oppressive regimes. They all need shelter, and a sympathetic ear to unburden hurting hearts. We seek to address, where possible, practical needs. But people from all nations and speaking different languages, should be free to hear about the peace and joy that Jesus Christ offers.

Young Mums can often feel tired, a little isolated, in need of an understanding ear and a safe environment, where they can let their little ones play and interact with other toddlers. Stepping Stones is an oasis where little ones can play, sing songs and listen to bible stories.

These are just a few of the needs that Swindon Evangelical Church seeks to meet. There are many others but the common thread running through the communities that we serve is a need to be confronted with the life-changing message that Jesus Christ brings.


Past and present members of Swindon Evangelical Church share their testimonies of how God has worked through them at the church.


Some of the key moments for the church over the past century.


Formation of the fellowship known as the Bible Institute & Church.

Purchase of land and conversion into church building.

Opening and dedication of the church building.

Swindon Church first meeting
The first meeting of the fellowship at the Prospect meeting room.
9 Croft Road
9 Croft Road

The first meeting place of the church

The first building
The first Church frontage

The fence was originally chicken-wire


Opening and dedication of the church building.


First missionaries sent out from the church: Mr WH Webb (China), Fred Anstice (Africa) and Margaret Comer (China)


Arrival of Jack Ringer for 10 years’ training for Christian service.

1935 Church front

Building of the new frontage to the church.


Church Council formed.

Jack Ringer NWFF centre

Jack Ringer sailed for India where he was to serve the Lord on the North West Frontier for the next 42 years.


Home committee formed to support Jack Ringer and his wife in their work in Pakistan, known as the North West Frontier Evangelistic Work. Later became known as the NWFF.


Ordination of Mr Ewings under the auspices of the FIEC.

Affiliation of the church to that Fellowship.


Homecall of Mr Ewings, founder and first Pastor.

Induction of Oliver Sainsbury as second Pastor.


First stage in the reconstruction of the church building.


Purchase of house next door to the church.

1964 Sainsbury

Mr Sainsbury retires and moves away to live in Worthing.


New Church Order and new Church Council. 

Induction of third Pastor, D Leonard Evans.


The close of Mr Evans’ pastorate as he moves to Letchworth.


Induction of fourth Pastor, Antony M Finnie


The baptistry built and used for the first time


Home Fellowships organised


First Church camp.

Enlargement of School Room.


Church Council replaced by Elders and Deacons.


John Parmenter appointed as first Elder.

First Holiday Bible Club.


Dedication of refurbished Church House.

Martyn & Elizabeth Fitch leave for Pakistan.


First Youth Conference Weekend organised here.


Gareth and Sian James (formerly Youth Leaders) inducted into the ministry at Pontefract.


Martyn and Debbie Fitch leave for Pakistan to serve with NWFF for the next seven years.


David Kay & Alasdair Rose inducted as Elders.

Steve Tinker inducted into the ministry at Kensington Baptist Church, Bristol.


Grace Morley returns to India for six months. She goes back again in 1993, and for a final short visit in 1995.


Andrew Bunce leaves for Pakistan for two years service with NWFF.


David and Ruth Kay inducted into the work at Barnstaple.


Janet Cowie leaves for Pakistan to serve with NWFF.


Steve Tinker moves on from Bristol to Pakistan to serve with NWFF

Stepping Stones started.


David Andrew inducted as an Elder.

1997 Paul and Ruth Williams

Paul Williams is invited, and accepts, the call to be Associate Pastor.


‘Core group’ further the church planting in North Swindon by starting Sunday morning services led by Antony Finnie and Paul Williams in Greenmeadow School.


Holiday Bible Clubs restart.

Started School Assemblies.

Mission with Paul Hinton.

Stuart Davis appointed as Assistant Pastor of Trinity Road Chapel.


Stuart Olyott leads monthly preaching seminars.

Mission with Roger Carswell.

North Swindon Baptist Church becomes independent.

House groups restart.

One Way Club and Pathfinders start.


Antony Finnie steps down as Pastor and continues his ministry in Lawshall Evangelical Church.

Paul Williams becomes fifth Pastor.

Paul Williams becomes fifth Pastor.


Debbie Baker appointed as church administrator.

Alasdair Rose reappointed as Elder


Matthew Cottington appointed as Assistant Pastor for three years.

Lyndon Day appointed as Elder


Mez and Miriam McConnell go to Brazil with UFM.

Began services at Cheriton Nursing Home.


Jeremy Hudson school exhibitions.

David Andrew retires from Eldership.


Billboard used in outreach for first time.

John Baker & Colin Baston join Diaconate

Triple C (Coffee, Cards & Chat) starts


Matthew Cottington appointed Pastor of Milbridge Evangelical church Minehead.

Rachel Fitch leaves to minister in schools in South Africa.

First stall at Old Town Festival.


Mez McConnell appointed Pastor of Niddrie Community Chapel.

Mark Trafford appointed as Elder.

Open House restarts.

Alasdair and Irene Rose move to Scotland -

Alasdair retires from Eldership


Bob Collins joins Diaconate


Richard Foster appointed as Elder.

Thys Storm joins Diaconate


Rob Tylee appointed as Pastoral Assistant.

Mary Hodson appointed as part-time ladies pastoral worker.

Building Together Project launched

Jon Redhead joins Diaconate


Men’s Leadership Training started.

Anneret Storm goes to Peru as a missionary.

Art Club started.


Mission Team from Harrisville Baptist Church, Mississippi visit and together we run Holiday at Home for the first time

Daniel Sweet appointed as Church Apprentice


John-Mark Teeuwen appointed as Elder.

Rob Tylee resigns as Pastoral Assistant

Anneret Storm appointed as Church Apprentice


David Childs-Clarke appointed as Church Apprentice

John Mark Teeuwen resigns as Elder


Helen Jackson appointed as Church Apprentice

Friday Fellowship commences

Sacha Childs-Clarke, Vio Havristiuc, Luke Moody &
Duncan Thew join Diaconate


David Childs-Clarke appointed as Pastoral Assistant


Helen Jackson appointed as Children’s & Youth worker

Matt Sweet joins Diaconate


Art Club closes

Services at Cheriton Nursing home finish

Colin Bentley joins Diaconate


David Childs-Clarke resigns as Pastoral Assistant to start a Church plant at Penhill

John Parmenter resigns as Elder

Brian Whittaker invited to be Associate Pastor with
Paul as Lead Pastor

Michel Crabol, Garmon Davies, Barney Main,
Tim Mann & Alex Tibitendwa join Diaconate

Open House closes

Rooted (14+ youth group) commences


Brian takes up role as Associate Pastor in January 
working remotely from Wales

Brian and family move to Swindon in July

Lyndon Day resigns as Elder

Recommissioning service for Sarah Deacon
working in Slovenia


Brian recognised as Lead Pastor with Paul becoming Associate prior to his planned retirement in June 2023

Jonathan Redhead appointed as Elder


A variety of snapshots of groups and occasions throughout the life of the church.

...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. - Matthew 6:33