The History of the Dorcan Church starts in 1965 when St. Paul's Church in
Edgware Road, off Regent Street in the centre of Swindon, was demolished.
The old St. Paul's was built in 1881 to a design by Edmund Ferrey and extended
in 1883 by John Bevan and served the centre of Swindon for over eighty years.
The site was sold to Woolworths for £65,000 with a corner of the former
church being retained and a small chapel, St. Aldhelm's, was constructed for
occasional weekday services.
The processional cross displayed in the Church was presented by the congregation to the old St. Paul's in 1893.
From the proceeds of the sale a new church was to be built in Covingham and join the Anglican churches of St. John's and St. Andrew's in a new enlarged parish. The Dorcan Church serving the estates of Covingham, Nythe, Liden and Eldene.
Bishop Oliver Tomkins of Bristol believed that ecumenism was the future of the Christian Church. He discussed the idea of the new church at Covingham becoming the first official ecumenical church in the country with Dr. Leslie Wollen, Chairman of the Bristol Methodist District.
After much discussion and many meetings, it was agreed to commission the Rev. Michael Cripps (Anglican) and Rev Raymond Stevenson (Methodist) as the first ministers to jointly run the new ecumenical church. The commissioning took place on Friday 16th. September 1966 in Nythe School. The new parish was to be known as Dorcan.
The first services took place in Nythe School. Although the new area of Nythe and Covingham had over nine hundred homes, attendance at these services was poor. Some eighty people of all denominations, both clergy and lay people, were gathered together and given the task of visiting every home with the news of the Dorcan Church. Each person was allocated up to fifteen homes and, within a short space of time, everyone on the Nythe and Covingham estates were aware of the new church.
On the 10th. July 1971 St. Paul's Church was opened; built to a design by the Brand, Potter, Hare Partnership. The Church Centre was to be a flexible multipurpose building for the whole community.
18th. January 1972: The Evening Advertiser announced Covinghams first
organ transplant, hastily explaining that the organ in question was a pipe
instrument which had been moved from the old St Pauls Church in the
town centre, which had been demolished a little over seven years earlier.
The organs new home was the St Pauls Church Centre. Pipework and
other 1890s components from the Old St. Paul's Organ were incorporated into
a re-built organ with an electro-mechanical action added.
The Eldene congregation met for worship at the Eldene Community Centre when it opened in 1973. It was intended for a church to be built in Eldene, but the idea was abandoned in favour of using the local authority centre. Previous worship was held in other local venues. Eldene had now become part of the new Dorcan Parish.
In Liden, a small group first met for Holy Communion at the temporary community centre on 6th. October 1974. The church increased in number with the growth of the locality, meeting first of all in people's houses and then in the local primary school. A new church building, St. Timothy's, octagonal in shape, built in 1976 and dedicated on 20th. March 1977 and was later joined to the new Liden Community centre in 1980. Liden was also part of the Dorcan Parish. St. Timothy's is unusual in being designed and built by the Environmental Services Department of the local authority and Richard Pedlar Architects. The brickwork is unique being a light brown engineering brick from the Cattybrook Brick Company, Almondsbury.
When Bishop Oliver Tomkins explained the new Dorcan concept to General Synod, he was saddened when some of his fellow bishops said, "It won't work". Fifty years later, and many Anglican and Methodist clergy (both men and women) have proved the Bishop right in his bold and imaginative concept, and continued the excellent ministry begun by Rev. Michael Cripps and Rev. Raymond Stevenson,
Includes material from the 40th. Anniversary magazine
October 2006 by Nigel Sharp
A fuller history can be viewed here.
The compiler and editor would be grateful for any additions and corrections you may have.
Please send them to 'The editors of the Dorcan History'
Ministers of the Dorcan Church
|Anglican||D.G. Gardner||?? - 1966||Larksfield|
|Anglican||Michael Cripps||1966 - ??|
|Methodist||Raymond Stevenson||1966 - ??|
|Anglican||Graham Potter||1971 - 1974|
|Anglican||Gerald Bostock||1971 - ??|
|Methodist||Peter Muff||1972 - 1976||Larksfield|
|Anglican||Paul Wheatley||1973 - 1979||St. Paul's|
|Anglican||David Sutch||1975 - 1979||Kershaw Road|
|Anglican||Geoffrey Fison||1979 - ??||Kershaw Road|
|Methodist||Keith Roberts||1980 - 1985||Larksfield|
|Anglican||Ron Murphy||1984 - ??||Non Stipendiary|
|Anglican||Brian Pearce||1980 - 1991||St. Paul's|
|Methodist||Allen Ashley||1982 - 1985|
|Methodist||Hilary Cooke||1985 - 1993||Kershaw Road|
|Methodist||Kathleen Share||198? - 198?|
|Anglican||Robin Hungerford||1988 - 1992|
|Anglican||Ian Gooding||1992 - 1994||Larksfield|
|Anglican||Brian Duckett||1992 - 2000||St. Paul's|
|Methodist||Diane Daymond||1993 - 1998||Kershaw Road|
|Methodist||David Hawkes||1994 - 2000||Merlin Way||Circuit Superintendent|
|Anglican||David Parsons||1995 - ??||Own House||Non Stipendiary|
|Anglican||Paul Selley||1996 - 2000||Sedgebrook|
|Anglican||Beth Gardner||2001 - 2004||Nyland Road|
|Anglican||Tony Knapp||2001 - 2012||Sedgebrook|
|Methodist||Derek Collins||2002 - 2010||Merlin Way||Circuit Superintendent|
|Anglican||Beth Brown||2009 - 2013||Coleview|
|Methodist||Andrew Wigley||2011 - 2021||Merlin Way|
|Anglican||Trudie Wigley||2014 -||Merlin Way/
|Anglican||Stuart Fisher||2011 -||Own house||Asoc. Local Minister|
|Anglican||Rob Smith||2017 - 2020||Sedgebrook|
|Methodist||Stephen Roe||2021 -||Merlin Way|