The history of the Chesterfield Company of believers spans the years 1910 - 1983. The experiences have been many and varied but through it all God has been in the shadows keeping watch over His own.
Eighty-nine years ago, in the village of Brimington, near Chesterfield, the first seeds of the three angels message were sown, by the Literature evangelist Mr Baxter. Armed with the magazine known as present truth, he visited a man named Mr Kippling, who on reading the magazine was so convinced of its truth that he placed a regular order. The Holy Spirit did its work and Mr Kippling was baptised at the Sheffield slipper baths, and received into the fellowship of the Sheffield Company of believers, together with his wife Georgina. Their two children later followed in their parents' footsteps and remain faithful to this day.
The writer married one of the daughters Annie May, with the result now of four generations of Adventists. Mr Kippling was a conscientious and ardent worker for his Lord employing the very means that brought him into the Church, the magazine present truth. A few people responded and cottage meetings were begun.
Interest fluctuated as the years came and went. Sister Maxfield who was brought into the truth by Mr Kippling and sister Evelyn Clark nee Kippling both now deceased, with the only surviving member now of those early beginnings sister Annie Cupit nee Kippling who is still a faithful member to this day.
The company met in various locations. Meetings were held at different times at Killamarsh, Brimington, Chesterfield and Sheffield. The believers gathered wherever they could find fellowship during the war years, 1914 -1918. In 1928 pastor Morrison a Scotsman campaigned in Chesterfield, assisted by Miss Basher and a Mr Hardy. Three families were added to the company as a result. Pastor Morrison was a very devout and Godly man, and he shed many tears in his efforts to win souls to Christ. He said that Chesterfield was his "WATERLOO"!
In 1932 pastor A K Munson came to serve the district of Stavely, Chesterfield and Alfreton. A few more souls were added following his labours. (Alfreton was where the writer first met pastor Munson.) I first made contact with Adventists in Sutton in Ashfield. "It was while I attended prayer meeting and studied at the home of Sister Surridge that I first met her son Ron, who later on in life became the president of the North British Conference. I went on to help the 'tent master' in Alfreton. I was baptised about 1934 and then came to Chesterfield and Brimington, I met and married Annie of the Kippling family. Together we were able to keep an interest alive throughout the 1939 - 1945 war years".
During the late 1940s pastor R A Vince held cottage meetings, assisted by Sister Watson, a bible instructor. Pastor Madgwick and Sparrow (now Seaton) served briefly in the area. About 1964 Pastor Brett began evangelistic meetings in the Chesterfield market hall opening with the film ' I BEHELD HIS GLORY'. Pastor Bainbridge continued the meetings and the follow up work was the task of pastor L P Anderson. It was under Pastor Anderson's leadership that we were organised into a company.
On the 19th March 1966 we met in the Friends Meeting House (which is now a multi-storey car park) in the presence of pastor Elias, Bainbridge and Anderson who witnessed the signing of the Charter Member Scroll by 13 members. On that day we were established as a company of Seventh-day Adventists meeting in the Friends Meeting House every Sabbath day.
Pastor Anderson was called to work in Grantham, and pPstor Handysides came to minister to us. We were soon faced with the problem of finding a place in which to worship, as the Friends Meeting House was due for demolition to provide a site for a multi-storey car park. After much prayer and diligent searching God provided the answer. It was a well-built Methodist Chapel, in Church Street North Old Whittington, which is our present place of worship. As we reflect now in terms of money, this church was a real gift from God.
The Church had its opening on Sabbath the 16th October 1971, The order of the service is as follows.
Special Visitors: Pastor E H Foster, President of British Union Conference
Service of Dedication
The Ministers who have served the church since that time are Pastor Handysides who held an evangelistic campaign in the church. Pastor Cox who held meetings in the Lecture Hall in Chesterfield - he was assisted by Philip Rhodes who is now a Pastor serving in Ireland. Pastor Roy Hulbert presented a campaign in the Civic Centre in Dronfield.
We have known two very helpful bible instructors during the latter half of our history. They were Sister Dora Watson and Sister Aikenhead - their constant watch care did much to establish us.
This account of our history would not be complete if I failed to mention the devoted and loving service of Sister Alice Tesh. This dedicated worker for the Lord did not spare herself. Through sunshine and rain this ageing lady would be about the Lord's work scattering the printed page wherever she went. In times of need she was always there. She never failed to pray for and visit with us. Her Christian love and concern established the members together during our early years. She has since been laid to rest awaiting her reward.
In the year 1982 Sandra Shaw daughter of Eric and Elsie Shaw, met a young man while visiting a friend, his name was Stephen Ham, the relationship blossomed and Stephen began bible studies with Pastor Roy Hulbert, he was baptised on May 1st 1982 and Sandra and Stephen were married on September 26th of the same year. Two days after Pastor Hulbert was asked to go and work in Newcastle.
At this time pastor Eric Henry cared for the Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Chesterfield churches with the help of two assistants - Mike Anderson and Adrian Broom. Both are now ordained ministers themselves.
During the following year the company was organised into a church with the help of Pastor Henry. This took place on October 1st 1983 - a copy of the service follows:
Sabbath Afternoon 3.00 pm - Special Service of Consecration
Officiating Ministers for service of Organisation:
In 1986 pastor Henry moved on and we met our new pastor his name was Pastor Peter Jeynes. He cared for the Chesterfield church and also the Sutton in Ashfield church, and for a short period of time he also cared for the Rotherham church. During his time with us he and his wife Tina worked hard to encourage the young people of the church. He and his family moved on to work in Preston and the surrounding area in 1992.
Pastor George Harris came to minister to us in 1992 when he took over from Pastor Jeynes. Pastor Harris was a very hard worker for the Lord. Brother Shaw and he would go out Ingathering every day come rain or shine. He would also conduct bible studies with those who were willing to have them, and conduct prayer meetings every week. Pastor Harris only stayed a short time but he worked very hard for our church he left us in 1993 as he was called to work elsewhere.
Pastor John Hines was then asked to take over as our minister along with the Sutton church. While he was with us he presented two campaigns - one in 1994 and the other in 1995. Sadly at the beginning of 1994 Brother Eric Shaw the elder passed away, and not long after Brother Bob Ashford passed away too. But their labours are carried on by their brothers and sisters in the faith who have a similar vision of service. During the later part of that year we started to make preparations for the church's centenary in the month of October the following year. Pastor Hines worked very hard during this time helping to decorate the church and prepare it for the day. We spent many days stripping and painted the railings outside the church, and as a result we were able to talk to many people and invite them to our centenary celebrations on October 28th 1995. The Sabbath School lesson was taken by Brother Barry Alen (now the minister in Southampton) and divine service was presented by David Marshall, Editor of the Stanbrough Press. On the Sunday evening we had the pleasure of listening to the Nottingham Police Male Voice Choir. It was a delight to see the church full for both occasions. Brother A J Sly, our present elder, who is 90 years young, takes the Sabbath school lesson every six weeks and preaches at least twice a quarter. The word 'old' simply does not fit this man as he will outlast most of us. Pastor Hines left us in January of 1997 when Pastor Ian Sweeney took over.
Pastor Sweeney has worked hard in Chesterfield giving us the opportunity to participate in the Net 98 evangelistic campaign which was very good. Having been voted as the Times Preacher of the year in 1998 - 99 he has been a very hard working man for the Lord. As I write this history of the church Pastor Sweeney is in Australia preaching at a camp meeting.
Brother and Sister Cupit who can no longer get to church because of illness are two of our most senior members. They still continue to give strength to the church even though they can not get there. Sister Cupit's father was the first member in Chesterfield. Their only daughter Pamela Montague, who attends the St Albans church, has raised her four children in the faith. Garry attends Milton Keynes church, Dale worships at St Albans as do Melody and Russell (who has studied at Newbold College). James son of Dale, and fifth in their generation, has a family example that few of us know.
We give thanks to God that we belong to such a warm-hearted family of faith as we have at Chesterfield. We as members of Chesterfield church take this opportunity to pledge ourselves to give a faithful witness of the gospel to this village of old Whittington and of Chesterfield, and to the wider world, through the missions of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Last updated 25 June 2001
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