The Baptist Church in Thatcham began in 1980, with a monthly house-group, made up mainly of Newbury members who lived in Thatcham. The Minister and a Deacon at Newbury had a vision for a Baptist Church on what was then an open field but where an estate of 1,000 houses was planned. They registered an interest in a site with the Local Planning Authority and set in motion the beginnings of the fellowship. In September 1980, services commenced within a pre-fabricated building called the Children’s Centre. Attendances grew and when the opportunity arose a couple of years later, the services were moved to a new community hall where the facilities were more suitable. During this period there was only one service each Sunday and other activities were held in homes.
During these years, the fellowship was still part of Newbury Baptist Church, and Ministers were appointed by them to have special responsibility for Thatcham and one of the local village Chapels.
On 15th September 1985, 34 people were commissioned from Newbury to form Thatcham Baptist Church and in 1986 work commenced on the new Church Building. The foundation stone was laid on 5th July 1986 and the new building was opened in April of the following year.
This building was opened in April 1987, but within five years the idea of extending it to give more space was forming and an Extension Fund was started.
In November 1992 planning permission was granted for the church building to be extended. This application was made because it was recognised that we had a real need for additional storage space and, while considering this, it was decided to apply for the maximum amount that it was believed we could extend, because we already needed to rent the Burdwood Centre to provide accommodation for the Sunday School. The plans were to provide storage space on the Maltings side of the sanctuary together with a two-storey extension at the front to give two additional rooms measuring approximately 13 feet by 20 feet. This permission would be available for five years.
It wasn’t until 1995 that the church felt ready to move forward with the project. In October of that year a Special Church Meeting decided that the store should be built but not the additional rooms at that stage. In due time the work was completed and therefore the planning permission was deemed to have been implemented and the opportunity to extend the rest of the building would remain available.
As the years progressed we realised that there was a definite need for a lift within the building and general consideration was being made as to how this could be incorporated within the existing building and approved extension. In July 2004 this vision of the extension was fully realised and we now have an excellent building with great facilities for all the groups using the building.
Now welcoming a regular congregation of over one hundred, Thatcham Baptist Church continues to grow as the town of Thatcham does around it.