Our roots in the South West of the city began in 1865 and as the area has moved from open fields to growing neighbourhoods, we have been part of the community life.
Our new name, South West Baptist Church, reflects our identity, history, sense of place and commitment to this part of the city and the local communities that make it up.
As Christchurch contemplates a new future and the South West of the city grows again, we want to serve the local communities around us and partner with others to see the city thrive. Already this dream has brought two churches, Spreydon Baptist Church and Halswell Baptist Church, together as one Church, one Church with a new name.
For 147 years, Spreydon Baptist has been an integral part of the South West community, developing many ministries expressing the spiritual heart of the Church to support the people of the area.
These have included social housing, pre-schools, after-school programmes, budget and employment support, mental health care and residential psychiatric support, youth work, specialist care for youth at risk, a single mums’ support group, support for people with physical and mental disabilities, play gym for kids, English language programmes, sports and fitness groups and perhaps most well-known, the Christmas Grotto that thousands of families pass through each year.
Thirty years ago, Spreydon Baptist planted a Church in Halswell to serve the growing community there. Halswell Baptist began to share the love of Christ with people moving into the area and over the last three decades it has grown and developed its own pre-school and other community groups, based at 6 Balcairn Street, Halswell.
Now the South West is growing again. In post-earthquake Christchurch, Halswell, Wigram and surrounding areas are experiencing massive growth in housing and development, with more than 20,000 people expected to move into the area in the next few years. With a concern for the spiritual and social wellbeing of these people and their communities in mind, the two churches have joined back together, pooling their resources and people to better serve the wider community.
In 1865, a young farm labourer named Thomas Jefcoate arrived in Spreydon with his wife, Janet. At that time the district was swamp and tussock paddocks. Thomas, aged 24, wanted to start a church in the area and approached local farmer’s wife, Charlotte Twigger, who said he could use a small sod house. He began a milk run to raise money and the first service was held in the sod house in September 1865.
A chapel was opened in 1867 and 10 years later a larger building was opened on Lincoln Road – it still stands today as ‘Bin Inn’.
During the 1930’s, another church was started on Lyttelton Street and in 1949 the two churches, Lincoln Road Baptist and Lyttelton Street Baptist, were combined at the present site, 244 Lyttelton Street, to form Spreydon Baptist – this was done by transporting buildings from both locations by traction engine!
South West Baptist Church has a vision to serve the community through developing local groups of people who live near each other and want to serve their immediate neighbourhoods.
These local community groups will be supported through the specialist ministries of the church such as pre-schools or youth workers. People involved in the local communities and ministries will continue to gather together at one of our church services to be inspired with God’s vision for their communities, the city and the wider world.
Our hope is that together we can support children in our local communities to enjoy life, students to achieve, families to be strengthened and communities to be interwoven.
Spreydon and Halswell Baptist Churches have developed a level of trust and respect in our communities.
We anticipate and hope this trust and respect will continue to grow under our new name, South West Baptist Church.