Stanmore Chapel: Beginnings
Recollections of Mrs JE Wilson, daughter of Reverend Alfred Reed, and member of Stanmore Chapel 1932-2018
"It was June 1932 that Mr Alfred Reed, an underground train driver, received a call to a very small work in the Old Barn, Old Church Lane, Stanmore, where the congregation numbered six adults and two children, and the first offering amounted to six shillings and ninepence. This was the time of the Great Depression. God saved a great many souls, forty-five in three months, and in September that same year Stanmore Chapel became a formally constituted church with a proper membership, a band of deacons and the Reverend Alfred Reed as its first pastor.
Month by month the Lord added to the church until there were over sixty members and the Barn could no longer hold them. The need to build a proper place of worship became essential. The owner of the Barn, who was himself a builder and a member of the church, envisaged turning to the Baptist Union for finance but the majority of members were against this idea, preferring to remain independent. On Monday 5 August 1935 the church was given formal notice to quit the Barn.
Naturally this seemed to be a great setback, which gave much heartache, but it was agreed to continue to meet in the pastor’s house at 1 Abercorn Road, Stanmore. Even in those confined premises there was great joy, for the church was thrown entirely on the mercy of God, both for provision of a new site and for the necessary money to put up a suitable building.
Building the chapel
And, despite the economic situation, the Lord marvelously supplied all those needs. Many wondrous answers to prayer were realised in those days and each need was met ‘in the nick of time’, first for the land, and then for the buildings themselves. The work was done, by the members, as the money came in. At no time did the work cease for lack of funds. There was great gladness when the Chapel in Marsh Lane was opened by the Reverend EJ Poole Connor on 23 October 1937.
The Reverend Alfred Reed was a man of vision and asked God to grant the church a further 50ft of land alongside the chapel. The owner of the land was approached to sell at a future date and agreed, having been given a token payment (made by the pastor himself).
The War then came and the need arose for premises for youth work. Pastor Reed went to approach the man who had received the token payment only to discover that he had subsequently passed away. The new owner resisted the sale of the land for some months, but God gave him no peace until the promise, made in earlier days, had been honoured. Yet, the man had one exception. The church had to purchase 70ft of land, rather than the intended 50ft, or it could not have any! In later years all were able to see God’s hand upon us for good, for the church now had land for a sports hall and also for a manse.
Adding a hall and a manse
The hall was built just after the war. At this time nothing could be used in such buildings that could have been used in building houses instead. But, again, after much prayer, God supplied all of the needs in terms of finance, substitute materials and voluntary labour. Many young people have since met in that hall and have heard the Bible taught, through the Sunday school and various clubs.
The manse was built in the same manner in the years 1958/9, with much voluntary labour and the continued goodness of the Lord supplying all necessary finance. Many found joy and fellowship in working together in this way. Through all these years, during all this work, at no time was the church ever in debt.
In 1969 Reverend Alfred Reed retired after thirty seven years of faithful ministry to God’s people. As well as being a minister, he had remained a full time employee of the London Underground all his working life. Many people, including some still alive, acknowledge their conversion and spiritual growth in the church under his ministry."
Written on the occasion of the chapel's 50th anniversary in 1982