Ryde Baptist Church

Fire in the Night

 What was left of the balcony

In 1995 the building caught fire due to an electrical fault. Although the outside of the structure was not too badly damaged, the inside was gutted. Only the back hall, cramped and in poor condition, was useable. The local supermarket offered to buy the premises and rebuild the church elsewhere, but then withdrew.

  Over 7 years, tremendous effort was put in to exploring alternatives that came to nothing. Some people gave up hope and went elsewhere. This meant less income so that there was not enough money to pay a pastor. 

The church survived these and many other difficulties partly through the help of Revd Richard Steel, who postponed his retirement to be our part-time, transitional minister. 

Then, in January 2003, with Home Mission support, Revd Jane Kingsnorth was appointed as full-time minister. Six months later building work started.

 Repainting around window

In spite of the heat from the fire, the stained glass window behind the worship area remained intact and is now back in position.  The photo above was taken during construction of the new mezzanine floor which now forms the main worship area.

 Molly cutting ribbon

 A new vision - the George Street Centre

Putting together the finance for this ambitious project involved much hard work and determination. Through God’s generous providing, all was set in place, and we moved back into our building, now renamed the George Street Centre, in August 2004.  


At the time, the local press called it "Quiet Baptist Miracle on George Street". 

The fire was a blessing in disguise. Such major, and expensive, changes would not have been carried out otherwise. Now we have a wonderful building, in use 7 days a week by community, commercial and church groups. We treasure The George Street Centre as a gift from God to be used to bless others. In all things, God works for good.

This beautiful quilt symbolises new life rising out of the fire. It is called The Lily Quilt and is usually on show in the Lounge.

Quilt showing lilies growing from fire 

  • George Street Centre
  • George Street
  • RYDE
  • Isle of Wight
  • PO33 2JF

01983 812774
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