Sadly, East Park Baptist closed in July 2010 after 100 years of ministry to the people of East Hull. The church will be a sad loss as it supported a large number of organisations, the youth work being particulary strong.
Some of the activities have been able to continue, for example the Boys' Brigade has moved to St Aidan's, and we are very happy to welcome EPB members at our services.
East Park Baptist Church 1909 - 2010- a history
By 1909 there were two flourishing Baptist churches in Hull, both in the west of the city - one at the Boulevard and the other at Beverley Road. The Yorkshire Association Extension Committee decided that the ministry in east Hull, which, for the previous 12 years, had been in the form of a Baptist Mission in Courtney Street, should be extended. The site chosen on Holderness Road, at the top of Southcoates Avenue, was purchased at a cost of £875. The building of this third Baptist church went ahead. It consisted of a temporary iron School-Chapel, with surrounding iron fencing, and cost £625 to erect. The heating, chairs and other sundries brought the grand total to £1,680.
The Baptist Mission in Courtney Street, conducted under the superintendence of the Beverley Road Church, was transferred to the charge of ‘East Park’ so that all Baptist work in East Hull was under one control. The first baptism in the new church took place on Sunday June 20th 1909 in the presence of a full congregation. Plans and sketches for a permanent church structure began to be drawn up, but meanwhile, the building of a permanent church hall went ahead alongside the site. Stone laying for the hall began in June 1913 and was finished at a total cost of £2,100. The hall was officially opened on January 29th 1914.
The temporary iron Chapel served well as a place of worship and was also used as a W.V.S. Emergency Centre during the Second World War. It was also used frequently for social gatherings, and became fondly known as ‘The Tin Tabernacle’. Unfortunately, in 1956, it became necessary to demolish this tin building. An ex-Army hut from the First World War had also been erected on the site, and had been used as a Young Men’s Institute before becoming a canteen for servicemen during The Second World War. After ‘The Tin Tabernacle’ had been pulled down, this Army hut was refurbished and used for all activities not possible in the church hall.
The building of a brand new church hall was on the minds of the congregation and a special fund for this was opened. Fund raising began by all the church members and organizations and a target of £1,000 was set. Various plans were looked over but nothing specific was chosen. In 1959, the Church Jubilee year, the target was not only reached, but exceeded. In 1960 a design was put forward and approved. The order for the prefabrication and erection of the hall was placed in February 1962. The building began. Looking at the costing of all the various aspects, it was decided that there would not be enough cash to cover things like the foundations, drainage, plumbing, lighting, heating and decoration. The Church Meeting decided that the work should be done by volunteer labour. All church members that were physically able joined the ‘workforce’, led by the minister of the time, Rev. F. H. Bateman. Even children joined in the work. A time arrived when a skilled bricklayer was needed but there was no-one in the congregation with this particular talent. As most of the labour had gone ahead in faith, it was felt that the situation be handed over to God, with the expectation that He would respond. Sure enough, God provided exactly what was needed. A building inspector, who had previously been a bricklayer approached the Minister and offered to help. The total cost of the finished project was approximately £6,000. It was estimated that £2,000 in labour costs was saved by the work of the volunteers. The opening of the New Church Hall took place on 18th and 19th April 1964.
In its earlier times, East Park Baptist Church had the largest Sunday school in Yorkshire. There were thriving Guide, Brownie, Scout and Cub packs, a Church Choir, and various other clubs, including a debating society and a cycling club. Over its 101 year history, the fellowship of East Park Baptist Church was a constant shining light for Christ in East Hull.
Unfortunately, as the years passed by, the congregation numbers began to slowly decline. This did not affect in any way the love and service that the membership gave out to the local community, but, as the fellowship grew smaller and the average age of members got older, the practicalities of keeping the ministry moving forward and outward became increasingly difficult. The building, which had been built with so much love, determination and faith, was now subsiding and beyond reasonable cost of repair. After much prayerful deliberation, a difficult decision was taken by the church members.
On the morning of Sunday 18th July 2010 at 10.30am, the final service at East Park Baptist Church took place. It was lead by Rev. Ernie Whalley, the Regional Minister for the Yorkshire Baptist Association. The members were joined by family and friends for this final act of worship together as a fellowship. The service was upbeat and joyful, but more importantly, thankful. Thanks and prayers were given for the century-long ministry of East Park Baptist Church, and for all the lives it had touched in the name of Jesus Christ the Saviour.
Members after the last service at EPB