A brief summary of our history
Over Baptist Church is an evangelical church associated with the Grace Baptist Association of churches (West Anglia).
Over is a village situated about 10 miles Northwest of Cambridge.
The village has around 1250 homes and a population of roughly 3200 people.
Although our church is now more than 275 years old, we believe the Christian message is just as important today as ever. Here is a brief history:
After the 16th century Protestant Reformation, Cambridgeshire became a stronghold of the emerging Puritan movement, and Over was no exception, with the majority of men from this then large village of c. 1,000 inhabitants signing the Solemn League and Covenant of 1643 to indicate their support for the cause of Parliament against the policies of King Charles I.
With the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 it can be reasonably assumed that a large proportion of the village became Nonconformists (or Dissenters), separating themselves from the Church of England. Certainly by 1737 there was an Independent (or Congregationalist) church in Over, and out of this may later have arisen a more specifically Baptist congregation who were responsible for the building of the present chapel in c. 1810 (with later extensions).
Among notable ministries during the following two centuries were those of George Prudden (1810-37) who saw no fewer than 76 people baptised on profession of faith in Jesus, George Bird (1924-32) and Percy Crees (1933-44), both of whom came from London’s West Ham Tabernacle, and Norman Foster (1961-2000), our longest-serving pastor.
The trust deed of 1830 makes it clear that the church was Calvinistic (or Reformed) in its doctrine, emphasising the supreme authority of the Bible, and salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. It is also likely that for most of its history it was a Strict Baptist fellowship; that is, admission to the Lord’s Table was restricted to believers who had been baptised after their conversion.
Today Over Baptist Church would be regarded as a fairly mainstream evangelical Baptist church, very similar to many other fellowships in Great Britain.
We will be adding further items of historic interest about the church here soon. We hope to have a gallery of photographs too.
Here is a photograph of George Bird that we've recently acquired from his grandson.