Canterbury Baptist Church was formed in 1823 and was known by the place in which it was situated, 'The Round House' in King Street. In 1864 it relocated to the present-day premises in St George's Place, with the halls being added in 1915.
It is a Church founded on (i) a united faith in Jesus Christ, (ii) a loyal service of members, and (iii) a concern for others locally and world-wide with a vision to proclaim that 'Jesus is Lord'. In 1830, having stopped eating sugar, the fellowship sent a strongly worded anti-slavery petition to the Houses of Parliament.
The church's past included members who were leaders in the city of Canterbury, such as former mayors, Alderman Frank Hooker, J.P., and Alderman F Charles Lefevre.
The Chapel at Tyler Hill was opened in 1885 and the Gammon family were the prime movers in securing this place of worship. A story has it that the pony died, so that they could no longer travel in the trap and it was a long way to walk to St George's Place. CBC initiated the building of a Church at Aylesham, which was opened in 1928 and the two Churches still have strong links.
Hospitality has always been offered and this was especially so in the World Wars when care was given to members of the forces. In the late 1940s, Phyllis Hooker was the first woman to be elected to the office of deacon, now women and men serve equally in many spheres. In the 1960s, Phyllis Hooker lady spent her entire wealth on buying houses for churches without manses (a house inhabited by a minister), for missionaries to use whilst on furlough and for retired Baptist Ministers.
The history of the Church includes sending missionaries to China and Africa, particularly the Congo. Canterbury Baptist Church presently has strong links with Brazil and Uganda. Many of our members are involved in short term missionary service in a variety of ways.
The Church has known times of large congregations, but in the early 1990s the fellowship faced a declining membership, particularly as young people moved away to study and work. Today Canterbury Baptist Church has a growing, vibrant congregation, as students and young adults, having been cared for during their time in Canterbury and become involved in the worship, have stayed to obtain jobs in Canterbury and take on responsibilities in the life of the Church. New members are regularly welcomed. The congregation is multinational and ranges widely in age.
The Church has always cared for children. In former times, children were taught in Sunday-school to read and write. Today, we run Junior Church is part of the Sunday Moming Worship, crèche plus parent and toddler groups, Boys' Brigades (which has been running for 47 years) and Girls' Brigades (which has been running for 25 years), plus various activities suited to all generations.
Canterbury Baptist Church has been served by dedicated ministers through the years. Members of the congregation have gone to be trained to serve God in this way, including one at present. The fellowship can testify to the guidance of God for 185 years.