Leicester Christadelphians

In the early days members found that in order to preserve their identity they had to give themselves a name.  Christadelphian was chosen because it means brothers (and of course sisters) in Christ.


On baptism by full immersion a man or a woman then begins to call themselves a Brother or a Sister and then can share in the bread and of the wine at the memorial service.


It is the practice of Christadelphian's to call the collective group an ecclesia which is the Greek word for church. The place they meet is then called the ecclesial hall, or ecclesial meeting room.



LEICESTER

The Leicester congregation met in many places over the years.  From being few in number the congregation gradually increased and a change in the rented premises was required.  Sometimes the change was forced upon them when the landlords declined to renew the lease.  There were also times when - due to the large number of people in the meeting - that another ecclesia was established.


In the early years due to the expensive nature of books, and the often low income of the members that a book club was formed.  The books were circulated from city to city and available to all who were interested free of charge.


The first brethren of Leicester 1868 - William Buckler (a railway guard) and Fred Lester were in fact baptised at an ecclesia in Birmingham and they met to break bread in a summer house a couple of miles out of Leicester.  The public lectures were held at the Temperance Hall in Leicester at which about 100 visitors would attend.  By the end of 1869 the congregation numbered nine.


They then moved to the business premises of Brother Lester (who later emigrated to New Zealand) at 50 High Cross Street, which had a room that could seat about 150 people.


Then in 1875 due to the increased interest they (46 Brethren and Sisters) moved to the rented business premises of a Brother Collyer at Central Hall, Silver Street and stayed there from 1875 to 1889.  This room was able to seat 400 people.  From this time on there was a regular change of premises.


Co-operative Hall, High Street from 1889 to 1901

Waterloo Hall on Waterloo Street from 1901 until 1913

Victoria Hall, Mill Hill Lane from 1913 until 1919


They stayed at the Rechabite Hall, Dover Street from 1919 until  1929 when they moved to the new purpose built rooms at Abingdon Road, off Evington Road.  These were constructed at a cost of 3450 pounds 19 shillings and 9 pence.  The first service was held on Sunday 01 December 1929.  It was a busy start for the new premises.  On the Wednesday 05 December there was a baptism, and on the following day a thanksgiving service.  Then on the 11 December there was another baptism, then two more on the 18 December, and four more on the 01 January 1930.  Then three more in February and another in March.  In May the singing class gave a performance of the Cantata ‘Ruth’ and also selections from ‘The Messiah’.  Also in May there was a fraternal (sort of an open day) which was attended by 460 people.



Reproduction of a block print

as the hall looked when it was built


By 1939 there were 440 people on the registrar and space was getting tight so it was decided to extend the building and planning permission was sought to add a first floor to the front of the building.  The second world war delayed this project but in 1949 it was finally completed at a cost of £1650.oo.


In October 1942 a directive was issued by the government that no central heating was to be allowed in public buildings owing to fuel shortages - the congregation must have shivered through the meetings!.  In January 1943 the iron railings at the front were removed by the authorities for the war effort, and the fire buckets were removed in July 1944.


In January 1946 a complaint was made that the room was too cold, the response was "heating is capable of meeting the required temperature of 60 degrees when outside is 40 or over"  Just imagine 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 1/2 degrees Celsius) was supposedly adequate - hardy people then!.  Just as reminder the winter of 1947 was the cold one.


1950 there were fuel shortages again and there was only enough coal to light the central heating boiler on Sundays.  Mid week classes were held in the new upstairs room with the aid of 3 electric heaters.


As the hall looked in 2006

We remained at Abingdon Road until the 23 September 2007.   Then moved to new premises located at 3 Glenhills Boulevard towards the south of  Leicester in early 2008. The meeting is now called GLENHILLS













GLENFIELD

Preaching began at Glenfield in 1886 on Sunday April 11th at the Co-operative Hall on Stamford Street, which was presided over by Mr Viccars Collyer a local nurseryman.  It was a surprise to the organisers that so many people turned up.  Even though about 120 seats had been set out in the hall, such was the interest that about 20 to 30 visitors had no where to sit and had to stand for the duration of the meeting.


The preaching continued for many years in Glenfield which resulted in many baptisms.  Those baptised attended the Leicester ecclesia, until a permanent meeting was established in 1930 at the same Co-operative hall that they rented for the preaching efforts.  They have met in various locations over the years Women’s Institute, Memorial Hall, and presently in the Scout Hall on Stamford Street.


Below is an article published in Glenfield’s newspaper


120 years in Glenfield

This month (April 2006) marks the beginning of the 120th year since the Christadelphian's first preached the Christian Gospel in Glenfield.


The Christadelphian 1886 - a magazine for the Christadelphian community - contained the following information.


"On Sunday evening, April 11th (1886), a lecture was [given] in Glenfield … on ‘The glorious gospel of the blessed God’ …. in the Co-operative Hall. Although a fair audience was anticipated, we were scarcely expecting to see so many as we did… and some few were not able to get into the room. Altogether there were about 150 listeners. Bro. Collyer who presided, asked the audience to inform us by a show of hands whether they would like us to go again and tell them more of our belief, and in response, nearly every one held up their hand, so that, if the Lord will, we shall continue to hold meetings there as often as we conveniently can, hoping that the Lord may have some people in that place."


Some 10 years later in April 1896 the following announcement appeared in ‘The Christadelphian’ magazine.


"We have… given several Thursday evening lectures [in Glenfield] … the outcome of these efforts has been … a petition … signed by 31 residents in Glenfield (none of them Christadelphian's) asking us to arrange for a Sunday School and Sunday services in the village … Last Sunday (April 12th 1896) was the first Sunday effort, and the result was most encouraging.  Twenty-one names have been enrolled as scholars in the school, and the lecture in the evening, which was upon ‘The Bible’ by our Brother J. S. Dixon, was attended by 73 of the villagers.  The room will hold about 80 comfortably, and had been well-filled for every lecture given there … We very much hope that eternal good may be the result of these efforts"


Christadelphian's have held Bible talks every Sunday in Glenfield since that time.  They have met in a number of different locations including the Co-operative Hall, Women’s Institute, Memorial Hall, and presently in the Scout Hall on Stamford Street.


Despite falling church attendance and widespread disregard for the God of the Bible, Christadelphian's hold Bible talks every Sunday evening at 6.00 in the Scout Hall.


The reason for the continued Bible talks in Glenfield?

Christadelphian's believe that Jesus Christ is going to return to set up the Kingdom of god on the earth - the message preached by Jesus’ disciples.  It is their desire that men and women have an opportunity to hear that message of Eternal Life in the Kingdom of God in a world governed in righteousness and peace free from wars and lawlessness of this present world.


Details of future Christadelphian talks in Glenfield can be found on their web site:-

http://ukchristadelphians.org.uk/info.asp?act=ecc&id=103






WESTLEIGH

The formation of the current ecclesia at Westleigh Road began its life when a group of brethren and sisters left the Abingdon Road ecclesia (which was at the time bursting at the seams) to establish a new ecclesia numbering about 70, at hired rooms at the West End Adult School, on Western Road in April 1955, and were known as the Leicester Western Road ecclesia.  Sufficient young people were there to form a Sunday School which was shortly followed by the formation of a Youth Group in 1956.


They continued to meet there until numbers grew to the point where new premises were required.  A former orchard became available on Westleigh Road and the land was purchased in 1965.  A suitable building was erected and the congregation moved in on Sunday 4th June 1967, where they have continued to meet to this day.


Their web site is - http://www.theonetruth.org/







MOUNTSORREL

Preaching work began in Mountsorrel in 1904, the comment was made in the Christadelphian magazine "The audiences have not been large but very attentive".  These efforts resulted in four baptisms in 1906 and along with other members who lived nearby they formed an ecclesia.  The first meetings started in the Temperance Hall in 1906/1907 and in other halls on Loughborough Road until shortly after the first world war when a small wooden hut was purchased on Leicester Road.  Meetings continued there until land was purchased on Rothley Road and a purpose built hall was constructed, opening around 1939, and they continue to meet there to this day, and the members of Mountsorrel extend a warm welcome to you to join them around the word of God.