Central Baptist Church is privileged to provide a Christian ministry in the centre of Southampton. Our regular activities include two services each Sunday (with a fellowship lunch once a month after the morning service); prayer and Bible study; and Pulse youth group meetings.
The Polygon - A many sided thing!
The Polygon is a district of Southampton just north of the Civic Centre.
It gets its name from a grandiose eighteenth century development plan, which turned out to be over-ambitious and ran out of money. It was left until the Edwardian era to fill in the rest, which they mostly did with redbrick houses that give the area its distinctive character today.
Polygon (now Central) Baptist Church was erected at the time of the Edwardian expansion. The architect had the bright idea of topping the building with an unique (peculiar) many-sided wooden structure on a tower to reflect the area's name.
The true church is emphatically people, not a building. But we too have to be many-sided; our area has changed so much that if we are to be relevant to the varied groups who live around us we have to reach out in different and imaginative ways. Due to the enormous expansion of the Southampton Institute the Polygon has now become largely a student village. As a church, we want to provide a spiritual home for the students as well as for the more long-term residents of our area.
A disaster or an opportunity?
A few years ago a major outbreak of dry-rot was discovered in the main sanctuary - so serious the roof was in danger of collapsing! Although the dry rot itself has been cured (at the cost of several thousand pounds), the building was left in a terrible state because so much flooring, plaster and roofing had to be ripped out. We had hoped to completely rebuild, but listing by English Heritage put paid to that.
So, left with a large empty shell of a building what do we do? Our ordinary services are OK as we have adequate premises to house our normal weekly programme. But surely the Lord must have a plan for that big empty space?
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