Chris Short - Pastor
Chris was called to be the Pastor at PSBC in 2004. He trained at London School of Theology and has been in ministry since 1998. He is a gifted preacher and is enthusiastic about communicating Scriptural truths in an engaging way. He is married to Claire and they have two children.
Liz Prince - Deacon
Liz has been a member of PSBC for almost 35 years. She currently serves as a Deacon with responsibility for overseeing the worship team. She is married with two children and has three grandchildren.
Annie Hall - Deacon/Church Secretary
Annie serves as a Deacon and Church Secretary at PSBC. As Deacon she is responsible for overseeing the children’s and youth work. She is passionate about engaging young people with the gospel and seeing them grow in their faith. As Church Secretary she ensures the smooth operation of the church, handling administrative responsibilities and providing support to our Pastor and the Deacons. Annie is married with two children.
Wayne Searl - Deacon
Wayne enjoys seeing people go deeper in their relationships with one another and has a real heart to see men connected with church and growing in their faith. He is the home-group co-ordinator and is married with two children.
Tutu Asielue - Deacon
Tutu is responsible for co-ordinating the junior church on Sunday mornings and enjoys the administration work she undertakes at PSBC. She has a heartfelt sense of compassion for people who are in need. She is married and has two children.
Helen Gill - Deacon
Helen has a passion for the homeless, and frequently goes out with her home group to help those sleeping rough on the streets. She is a member of the Development and Health & Safety Committees, and sings regularly as part of our Worship Team. Helen is married with two children.
Adrian Dickson - Deacon
Adrian is our newest Deacon - elected in January. He has been attending Park Street Baptist Church for many years. He is a member of the Development team and regularly helps with our Junior Church groups on a Sunday morning. He is married with three children.
The Church Secretary and Deacons are elected by church members every two years and, with the pastor, help lead the church.
Michelle Cragg - Community outreach worker
Michelle Cragg has been the Community Worker for PSBC since 2001. With a background in nursing Michelle seeks to offer Christian love and support to people throughout the community. Michelle is married with four children and now has six grandchildren.
Our Pastor is also part of the Pastoral Team.
The History of Park Street Baptist Church
Park Street Baptist Church was founded in October 1812 by the newly formed Hertfordshire Union of Baptists and Independents, along with 15 other village churches around St Albans. For the first eight months meetings were held under a large chestnut tree along the main road, next to what is now the Overdraught public house. We were a daughter church of Dagnall Street Baptist Church, St Albans. The following June a barn in Bury Dell Lane, between the mill and the river Ver, was formally registered as a place of worship, and Sunday evening services were held there for the next 56 years with oil lamps for lighting, men sitting on one side and women on the other!
Following the dynamic Christian revival in St Albans in the early 1860s, when each fortnight 1,500 people met for evangelistic services in town (with a population in those days of only 7½ thousand), a flint-faced brick chapel was built in 1869 in Branch Road, which served until the move in 1976 to our present site in Penn Road.
In 1897 the Sunday School that was started three years after the chapel was built had grown to such a size that a large schoolroom was added, which was also used by the thriving Women’s Meeting, Young People’s Christian Endeavour group, and Men’s Brotherhood Society (of 46 members). A St Albans Times article of 1912, celebrating 100 years of the church’s existence, stated that “this little church is pulsating with vigour and enthusiasm, a radiating centre of Christian and social activity, shedding a lustrous influence over the whole village.”
For 50 years until 1937 at least 250 students from Regents Park Baptist Theological College, then in London, led many of the services, and from 1921 until the College moved to Bristol in 1937 it provided student pastors, which explains why until fairly recent times our church was well known throughout the UK Baptist Union.
In June 1939, three months prior to WW2, our church became independent of Dagnall Street Baptist Church. London Colney Baptist Church also became independent and for a few years we shared with them our first full-time minister, Rev. Fred Bateman. An interesting record in one of the 1939 church meeting minutes detailed how the building was to be evacuated in the event of an air raid! Our present pastor (2015), Rev. Chris Short, is the eighth in our church’s history.
In 1963 our second minister, Rev. Andrew Simpson, a retired life-long missionary to Congo, Africa and a student pastor here in the early 1920s whilst studying at Regents Park, purchased the 4½ acre green-belt field that is our current site, with a view to developing a new church building and complex on it. This ambition has existed now for over fifty years, and we still look forward to its fruition in, hopefully, a few years’ time.
Meanwhile, in line with the Declaration adopted by the initial members in 1939, our worship of the risen Jesus and our heavenly Father and our witness to the vitality of the eternal life he offers to us continue as the foundation of our individual and community life.
(Thanks to Ian LaRiviere for this article)