NOTES ON ZION'S HISTORY
(Notes made by the late David Klisky)
1739 March 30th Friday - George Whitfield preaches at Coalpit Heath near the Maypole to a crowd of over 2000.
1751 Wesley visits Winterbourne.
1787 Wesley attends the opening of a Chapel at Winterbourne.
1794 September 6th - Thomas Humphries (clerk of Coalpit Heath Colliery) and 5 friends send out a circular address proposing to raise funds to build a Chapel in the village.
September 30th - Foundations of Zion are dug. Even though the land on which it stands was not formally purchased until 10th December from Mr. Isaac Jarrett for 10/- plus £2 per year ground rent.Cost of building was £353 - 3 - 71/2.
Trustees of the Church are formed, these include 5 of the friends who sent out the circular plus the Rev. John Hey of Castle Green Bristol and 6 Bristol tradesmen.
1795 August 3rd - The Chapel is licensed for worship by the Bishop of Gloucester.
August 6th Thursday - Chapel opens for worship. Rev. John Hey preaches the first service in the morning from Ezra 9.v 8. The building became so full the service had to be finished outside. The Rev. Hughs preached the afternoon service from Luke 2. v 14. Again the whole service had to be held outside.
For a few years the Chapel seems to have been used as a preaching station with no formal membership.
1799 Mr. Humphries distressed at the irregular form of membership and the way the Church is run, resigns as manager. He only agrees to return on condition that
(1) A regular Church is formed.
(2) New managers are chosen.
(3) An unruly woman is expelled for trying to have too much power.
This was all carried.
1802 Regular Church formed with rules and articles of the Constitution signed by 18 members.
1804 Amount outstanding on the builders costs £40 - 0 - 7 . Further rules and articles signed.
1812 A Sunday School is started at Zion.
1814 Mr.John Day becomes the first part time Minister of Zion. He lived in and carried out a business in Bristol. The rate is set for burials in the graveyard. Adults 10/6d, Children 5/-
1815 The Chapel is altered and improved. Member, Mr Henry Tripp goes to Jamaica as a missionary to the negroes. Pastor Day dies.
1820 Membership now 26, but a congregation of 250. Membership of Sunday School 220.
1821 Wesley Methodist Church opens in Church Road.
1822 Zion Sunday School teachers open a branch school at Nibley. Some members of Zion open cottage services at Codrington.
1823 Mr Jones holds the Pastorate of Zion for 5 months, then Mr.Dove and the Rev John Foster have joint oversight.
1827 (Jan) Mr.Warriner becomes Pastor until April 1828.
1834 New galleries are built in the Chapel, cost - £70.
1843 Subscriptions are started in order to call a minister.
1844 Membership of church now 70. Rev R P Thatcher becomes Pastor.
1846 Thanks to the efforts of the members of Zion and financial support given by the church, the first day school opens in the village, called the British School, now called Brockeridge Infants. (Note: Now part of Watermore Primary School from 2011)
1848 Rules of the church are changed to allow election of treasurer, secretary and deacons. Zion opens preaching.
1849 First boiler is installed to heat the Chapel. A member is reprimanded by Church Meeting for being at a public house without a good reason.
1851 Bethel Methodist Church opens in Woodend Road.
1852 Bethel Methodist opens.
1858 A member is suspended for three months for playing cards in a public place.
1861 Congregational hymn books introduced.
1864 Rev Thatcher retires.
1865 Membership; 90. Mr William Mends Howell, of the Bristol Congregational Institute, becomes Pastor.
1868 The need for a larger building becomes evident. A member Mr Jarret suggests building a new church.
1870 Church buys 1 acre of field from Mr Lowe to extend the graveyard. Cost - Â£160.
1873 May 9th: Pastor Howell dies a few months before the new church building is opened on Sept 10th. Cost of new Church; Â£1557-15-7d. Rev A M Brown preaches opening sermon from John 3 v 8. Rain water cistern installed by new Church to supply water to adjoining cottages. Pulpit raised by 1 1/2 ft. Pew rents for new church set at 1/- per single sitting.
1874 New floor installed in old Chapel building. Cottages purchased.
1875 Rev John Farquar from Norfolk takes charge of Zion for one year but leaves before completing the year. He was the first minister to get a house provided and a salary of Â£100 per year. Weekly offerings are tried for the first time.
1876 Rev G D Bird of Rhiwderin becomes Pastor.
1880 (June) Mr.Stephen Smoothy of Bristol Congregational Institute becomes Pastor, although he is not ordained until Oct.1882.
1881 Caretaker is employed at £8 per year. System of triennial election of deacons is advocated.
1882 New vestry is built on the back of the new Church. Cost £63-12-0. Salvation Army opens in Clyde Rd.
1883 Ventilation holes in windows of church are blocked up to stop draughts. Dry rot is found in the new Church.
1885 Collection bags are first used. Sunday School refused permission to remove old pulpit from old Chapel.
1887 Old Chapel is converted for use by Sunday School at a cost of £117. Rev.Smoothy leaves.
1887 Hebron Methodist Church opens in Boundary Road.
1889 Mr P Grant becomes Minister on £100 per year. New Chapel is redecorated at a cost of £40. First mention of a young people's Fellowship meeting on Wednesday evening. Weekly offerings are brought in in place of subscriptions.
1890 Church membership now 94. Agreed that part of the morning service should be directed at children.
1892 Debt outstanding on the new Chapel now £77-5-0. New coke boiler is installed to heat the Church cost £21-10-9. The organist is now paid for his services £5 per year.
1893 Debt on Church and cottages is finally paid off. Membership now 96. Collections are now taken by Stewards at the door at the close of the service to encourage more people to give. Vestry roof repaired to stop walls getting damp. Cottages re-roofed.
1894 New stoves for Sunday School purchased £1-8-0. Concern about damp walls in Sunday School. Accounts - Income - £128-16-8. Expenditure - £128-10-1
1895 Old Chapel is renovated as part of the Centenary celebrations. Caretakers salary is increased to £10 per year. September 30th - Rev Grant dies on holiday.
1896 Rev J Williams becomes Minister - salary £110 p.a. New oil lamps installed in Church.
1900 First united prayer meetings held with Wesley, Bethel and Hebron. Later extended to include Watley's End, Winterbourne Down and Whiteshill.
1901 Rev Williams leaves.
1902 Church and Vestry renovated and the end wall is rendered cost Â£49-10-0.
1905 Rev M E Francis becomes Minister. Pay £100 p.a.
1906 Membership now 78 and Sunday School 161. Hymn number board is made. Zion sends letter to House of Commons asking Parliament to end the Opium traffic between India and China. First record of a Harvest Festival. Gifts of fruit and vegetables given to the B.R.I.
1907 Membership now 82 and Sunday School 165. New hymn books purchased. Income Tax now has to be paid on the rent for cottages.
1908 Choir moved from rear to front of Church on West side. First record of a Church outing to the Orient Mission Exhibition in London.
1909 Agreed to the use of the Church vestry for refreshments for visiting teams playing Zion's cricket club. Rev Francis leaves.
1910 Membership 80 and Sunday School 200. New organ installed in Chapel. The rear wall had to be removed to allow the organ to be set back into the vestry. Cost £241-17-0. Complaint about graffiti on inside walls of Church.
1911 Rev S Smoothy becomes Minister.
1912 A Mother's meeting is started. Sunday School is renovated Cost Â£109-8-0. Vestry is redecorated.
1913 A member is suspended for 6 months for non-attendance at Communion.
1914 The Congregational Union of Gloucester and Herefordshire become Trustees of the Church property. Individual Communion cups introduced and plates replated. Membership now 76.
1915 Rev P Grant's gravestone is renovated.
1916 New Congregational Hymnary introduced. Blackout blinds fitted to Church windows for War regulations.
1918 Rev Smoothy leaves.
1919 Agreed to install a memorial to those who die in the war. Complaints about youths climbing walls and damaging graves. Graveyard is enlarged. Mr S J Pearce joins as a student Pastor.
1920 Renovation fund started for future repairs. Start of a new system of envelope offerings. Rules are changed to allow an increase of Deacons from 7 to 12 of which not more than 3 to be women. First time that new members are received into membership at a Sunday service instead of a Church meeting. Two members received on March 7th - Mr. Percy Nichols and Mr. Earnest Crookshanks.
1921 Rev H E Hewitt becomes Pastor. Pulpit is moved to the centre of the church
1922 Church is closed for two months while a new heating system is installed. Cost £135 and the Church is redecorated inside and outside including cleaning of the Freestone, cost £123. New carpet is also laid. Ladies sewing circle starts. Band of Hope starts.
1923 The Chapel Lane, which was owned by Zion, is transferred to the Parish Council for upkeep, now known as Upper Chapel Lane.
1924 Church holds the first New Year Social, children were only permitted in the charge of their parents. Lantern Lectures held, complaints about the behaviour of young people at these meetings. Lord Mayor of Bristol chairs a Church Anniversary meeting. Zion holds a carnival in a field by Brockridge School.
1925 Membership now 77. Sunday school 50. Graveyard is closed for burials except for church members. Y.P.S organise a service of song,but the Church refuses them permission to hold it in church. Later in the year the Church changes it's mind and allows the Y.P.S. service on condition that children are only admitted with adults, that there be no applause,and that good order is kept. Zion sends donation to Chipping Sodbury Cottage Hospital. There is a need to train young people for church work, so Zion starts an "On trial Church Roll" Start of Frampton Male Voice Choir. Mr Stacey has oversight of Zion during summer holidays, Christmas, Easter and the summer of 1926.
1926 The rules of the Church are altered. Y.P.S. buy 20 hymn books for the church,and offer to repair the school rooms. The pulpit is moved back to it's original position. A junior section of Y.P.S. starts.
1927 Membership is now 65.Sunday School now 74. 12 members of Y.P.S are accepted for Church membership. Y.P.S. changes it's name to Mission Band, - name is dropped after two months. The old vestry is extended (now called the annex)
1928 Membership now 78. Sunday School now 80. A notice is put up in Church asking for better behaviour from people sitting at the back during services. Cottages are repaired and redecorated. Christian Brethren open the gospel hall in Exchange Lane now called West Ridge.
1930 The organ is repaired. Mr H E Gurd is appointed as lay pastor. Church rules altered - members not complying with rule 11 shall be placed on a separate associated members list. Rule 3 to read - all active members. Church sends 2 delegates to a conference on youth. Chapel is renovated.
1931 Transport rota starts to bring aged members to communion. First lawn mower purchased. Sunday school is renovated.
1932 Sunday School now has 92 members. It is decided to have flowers on the communion table every week. It is decided to have mains water laid into school rooms. Fees paid to visiting students cut from £1 to 10/-. Hymn books bought for Sunday school.
1933 The organ blower is reprimanded for missing services. Congregation is reprimanded for talking at the back of church. First mention of Male voice choir holding a concert in church.
1934 A tip up seat is fitted to the pulpit.
1935 Membership 50, Sunday school 88. Trees around the church are cut down and sold to raise funds for renovations. Electricity is brought into church and electric lights are installed. First switched on-September 1st. The outside of the School rooms are renovated. Rev R J W Fursdon becomes Lay pastor.
1936 A young peoples fellowship group starts. Church is closed for 2 months for renovations - cost is £92-10-00. Services are held in the Sunday school. 12 chairs are purchased for the vestry. 20 more hymn books bought.
1937 Sunday school membership now 89.Y.P.S.25. Old organ in Sunday school is repaired £6-7-6. Bristol Itinerant Society hold yearly conferences at Zion. Cottages are repaired. Autumnal Assembly of Congregational Union held in Bristol. Womens guild closes through lack of support.
1938 Gift of new communion cloth. Cottages redecorated. Lino laid in vestry. Womens guild restarts.
1939 Concrete path laid around cottages. Due to lighting restrictions services held at 10:45a.m and 3:00 pm with evening prayer meetings in the vestry. Christmas parcels sent to servicemen connected to Zion.
1940 Times of services return to 11am and 6pm. Electric lights are installed in Sunday School costing £20. Mr C Russell attends his 55th annual Church Meeting. Members of H.M.Forces stationed at Swan Lane Winterbourne are invited to Zion's services. Due to black-out restrictions, Evening Services are held at 3.15pm.
1941 Membership now 48. Sunday School now 100. Zion sends letters of protest to the Government about proposals to open places of entertainment on Sundays. A presentation is made to Mr. Fowler in recognition of his services as Church Secretary for 21 years. Mr. Fowler gets a fireside chair and Mrs. Fowler a handbag. It was reported that although the Church was covered by the Wartime fire-watch, the Sunday School was not, so 2 buckets were purchased. 2 electric sockets are installed in the vestry and 2 electric heaters purchased cost £7.
1942 All members are asked to donate a 1d. a week to the Red Cross Fund. Church furnace is repaired cost £15-7-4. Membership now 50. Coalpit Heath Philharmonic Society holds its first concert in Zion. Zion's organist Mr A G Evans plays before Her Majesty Queen Mary at Badminton Church. Blackouts are made for the Sunday School £6-0-1. A new stove is fitted in the Old Vestry of Sunday School £3-18-5. Evening Services are held in the Sunday School. War workers at Newmans and Parnells at Yate are invited to Zion's services. Parish Council Defence Committee which meets at Zion, offer to pay to have water laid into the Sunday School rooms. Rev Fursdon resigns.
1943 Coalpit Heath Philharmonic Society perform St. John's Passion in Zion on Palm Sunday. Frampton Male Voice Choir move to Zion for Rehearsals. Rev. Fursdon says an offer he had had from another church had been withdrawn, so he withdrew his resignation, Zion at first rejects him but later asks him to stay until his replacement is found.
1944 Membership of Sunday School now 120. An application from the Home Guard for the use of the Sunday School was turned down. Rev Fursdon again voted in as Lay Pastor. Zion Church is used to celebrate the Centenary of the Co-op Society. Sunday School rooms used for the issue of ration books. Mr H Langley is appointed Lay Pastor of Stover Chapel.
1945 Rev Fursdon leaves. Cottages are repainted. Zion attends Centenary of Coalpit Heath Parish Church. Mr Passmore becomes Lay Pastor of Zion. Triple Jubilee of new church was celebrated.
1946 Zion gives part of its land at the front of the Church so that the road can be widened. Sunday School now 100. Introduction into the services of saying The Lords Prayer aloud by the congregation. An open air United service is held. New stove for the Sunday School is purchased. 25th anniversary of Y.P.S. A youth Club for 12 plus starts.
1947 Produce from harvest is auctioned and £10-2-0 is donated to the blind at St. Dunstons. An electric blower is installed in the organ costing £71-10-1. Anthracite stove installed in the vestry. A piano is purchased for Sunday School £47. The electric wiring of the Sunday School is completed, 7 years after it was started, due to the war, cost £26-1-11. New youth club agrees to cut grass in the graveyard.
1948 Membership now 38 active members. Secretary to receive £1 per year for expenses such as postage. A small gallery in the Sunday School vestry was removed.
1949 Youth Club hours are extended and the age limit is lowered to 11 with a membership of 55. Draught stops are fitted to the front doors of the Church.
1950 Resolved to have refreshments at Annual Church Meeting. Deacons wives to provide it. Zion is asked to provide a delegate to sit on new Recreation Field Committee. The outside of the Sunday School is renovated £42. A reading light is fitted on the pulpit, £3-10-0. Electric power point is fitted in Sunday School for a water heater. Sunday School is redecorated by members.
1951 Sewers are laid in Frampton and Coalpit Heath. A motion is put to the Church Meeting that dancing should be allowed at socials, the members voted in favour, and the Church Secretary immediately offered his resignation, so the motion was withdrawn. The combined choirs of the villages hold a music festival at Zion. Girls Brigade starts. The electric boiler for the Sunday School is purchased. Pastor Passmore moves into the village. After several years the Council eventually rebuilds the boundary wall. 1st United Sunday School Eisteddfod.
1952 Notice Board is renovated. The youth club installs a Ladies convenience in Sunday School.
1953 A TV is erected in the hall so that Pensioners can watch the Coronation. A new heating boiler is installed in church £83-15-0. Membership now 54. Church and vestry are renovated cost £90. The church is floodlit for the Coronation. It is decided to read out notices at all services.
1954 Church is closed for redecoration. Membership is now 55. Miss Howell presents the Church with a copy of a book she had compiled about our church and village in general. Zion joins the newly formed United Christian Church Council. First mention of Church membership classes.
1955 Membership 60. Zion and all local Churches hold a weeks mission. Garden Party held in British Legion field. 31st anniversary of Y.P.S.
1956 Decided to allow women to become Deacons at next elections in 1959. Mrs Passmore resigns (May) as joint Pastor. After complaints about the Communion wine it is decided to use Ribena. The organ is cleaned and overhauled and Mr.Holms pays for the addition of a balanced swell in memory of ex-organist Mr Evans. Cottages are repainted. Sunday School halls are connected to the main sewers. (Oct) Mrs Passmore accepts an invitation to rejoin her husband as joint Pastor. The youth club purchase 54 chairs for Sunday School. Salvation Army closes.
1957 Pastoral Committee is formed for visiting.
1958 Windows and roof of Sunday School are repaired. Scout and Cub packs start. Scouts start without a Scoutmaster. Cubs start with Isa Napier as leader. 2 extra radiators are fitted in church. Electric heaters are fitted in the vestry. Membership now 51. Dancing is allowed at socials and youth club.
1959 Cottages are renovated with new joists and floor in one bedroom, bricking up of side door, installing new sink, build ing new toilet and connecting up to main sewers. Church is connected to main sewers. Miss Isa Napier is elected as the first woman Deacon of Zion.
1960 1st Frampton Guides move to Zion for their meetings. The first full dance evening is held at Zion by the Scouts. First time a joint parade of Scouts and Guides is held on the evening of Harvest. John Hacker asked for permission to practice on the organ. It is agreed to let Church members serve at Communion. Floor of old vestry in Sunday School is removed and a concrete floor laid.
1961 150th anniversary of Sunday School. New guttering installed around Church roof. Zion accepts a challenge from Snyed Park Church to a cricket match on the Downs. Pastor Passmore attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace. A steel safe is purchased to keep records in.
1964 (July) First mention in records of the possibility of joining with the local Methodist Churches.
1965 Mr and Mrs Passmore leave.
1966 (Sept.) First meeting held between leaders of Wesley and Hebron Methodist Churches and Zion's deacons to discuss joining the churches.
1967 Joint services start once a month. (April)Meeting with officials of both denominations to discuss union. (Sept) Youth clubs amalgamate. (Nov) Zion Church is renovated and repainted, with new lights and electric heating installed. The last services held at Wesley and Hebron are on the last Sunday of December. First time the yearly income exceeds £1,000. December - Mr Fowler resigns as Church Treasurer after 49 years in the post.
1968 First united church service on Jan 6th. The first Church meeting choose the new name, Zion United Church. Sunday School now has a membership of 180 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. Youth Club membership now 60-80. (April) First monthly news letter is produced. A microphone and amplifier are installed in the church. New notice board erected. Zion affiliates with the new Community Association. The afternoon Sunday School closes. Pews are revarnished. The stage at the front of the church is raised.
1969 (April)The Rev Deans resigns as Assistant Minister. First time the Church minutes are typed. Front of the church is carpeted. New lighting is installed, cost £100. Membership now 185. A scheme to build a youth centre in the cottage gardens is planned.
1970 First vacuum cleaner is purchased. House fellowship groups are started. Membership now 162.
1972 Congregational and Presbyterian Churches unite to form the U.R.C. Rev Cox becomes minister. Youth Club closes.
1973 Hall roof is repaired. Car park is constructed on the cottage gardens. Alterations to the Sunday School halls begin, including installing the upper floor, new entrance, kitchen and toilets. New loud speakers installed in church. Deacons are replaced with Elders.
1974 Membership now 161.
1975 (March 15th) Church Halls re-opened after refurbishment. 200 chairs for hall purchased from Manor Park Hospital, cost Â£35. Play Group starts. Scouts open new building.
1976 Membership now 153. Car park is extended and resurfaced. Property Committee is formed. Gospel Hall closes.
1977 Rev J Cox leaves. Organ is renovated. New manse is purchased in Footes Lane/West Ridge. Two new hymn boards are made by Bill Mitchell. Rev John Crossley becomes Minister. Churchyard is repaired by inmates of Leyhill Prison. New Church Constitution signed. New electric heaters installed in church and church is redecorated. Ministers stipend is no longer paid directly by Church, but through finance and admin department of parent denominations. Mother and Toddler Group started.
1978 Vestry was re-roofed. Upper Hall was re-decorated and carpet laid. Junior Youth Club starts for 8-12 year olds. New lectern purchased. Chris Burley appointed Associate Minister (unofficially - to avoid J.Crossley getting extra responsibility from circuit). New folding tables purchased for halls. Cottages were renovated. First time some members went to Post Green Camp.
1979 Feasibility study is commissioned to look at improvements to the Church, Vestry and Cottages. New notice boards outside Church installed. Youth club for 11-14 year olds starts. First holiday week for 8-12 year olds is held. Prayer room is furnished in cottages. Upper Hall is recarpeted. Membership is 159. Church roof is treated for woodworm. Lower Hall floor was varnished. New and additional electric heaters installed in Church.
1980 Geoff Easterbrook is proposed as a candidate for Methodist Ministry. First Church Weekend away at Kelston. First Youth holiday to Fedw, South Wales. Vestry toilet is rebuilt and reroofed. Mike Graham was accredited as a lay-preacher. New screen and larger entrance hall installed in Church. Membership now 188.
1981 New amplifier and microphones with hearing aid loop installed. Lower ceiling installed in vestry and redecorated. Monday club for 5-7 year olds starts. Fluorescent lights fitted in Lower Hall. Church was redecorated. Wheel chair ramp installed at the front door of the church.
1982 Wheeled hymn book shelves are made for Church entrance. Screen purchased for overhead projector in Church. Exit lights installed in halls. A group for teens and twenties starts called "Mustard Seed" The organ is repaired after damage by snow. A new organ screen and pulpit fall are made. Pilot company is started.
1983 Church roof is re-tiled. Membership is now 227. Coffee club for teenagers hanging around streets starts.
1984 Cottages are redecorated. Boundary walls are repaired. Freestone around front door of Church was cleaned. Hymn book rails are installed on pews and the pews are re-varnished. The flat roof on the hall annex is replaced with sloping tiled roof. Sunday School membership-80. Informal communion services begin.
1985 Church appoints its first administrator. Church telephone directory first produced. Social events group is formed.
1986 New lightweight tables are purchased for halls. It is decided to serve coffee after morning services. Gravestones in the graveyard are moved to the side walls and a conservation garden is planted. Rev John Crossley leaves Zion and is replaced by Rev Stephen Fisher as minister. Taping of Sunday services begins-tapes distributed to the house bound.
1988 A counselling service is started called "Listening Post" Old cottages are demolished ready for rebuilding. New system of Pastoral Leaders is introduced.
1989 New cottage building is opened, cost £86,930. The Church is given a computer. The old vestry is converted into a resource room.
1990 Hall annex is damp proofed and walls are stripped back to stonework.
1991 Hall kitchen, toilets and entrance hall are refurbished. Part of the main hall floor is replaced.
1992 Radio microphone purchased for P.A. system. New computer is purchased. New photocopier is purchased.
1993 End wall of hall is rerendered and replastered. Church ceiling is panelled and church redecorated. Noiz Youth Club divide annex in half and build new walls to create a coffee bar. New carpet is laid in Church.
1994 Member Graham Hoslett, after training for the ministry becomes minister of High Heaton U.R.C. Newcastle. Outside walls are repointed.