25th Anniversary Celebrations




The Church on Oakwood - 25th Anniversary Celebrations

In 2011 we celebrated 25years of ministry here in Oakwood. A few of us began meeting and worshipping in the home of the Deaconess at 11 Appledore Drive at Pentecost 1986 and a few years later worshipped in the Chapel at the Convent of the Holy Name.

The Church moved into its present building in April 1993 and it was officially opened and dedicated at Pentecost, which is traditionally seen as the birthday of the Christian Church.

To celebrate this milestone in the Church's history, we held several events and special services.

For 4 sundays, we had special services with guest preachers: Rev Mike Webster (Methodist); Fr Paul Newman (Catholic); Rev Graham Maskery (URC) and on Pentecost Rev Lindsay Hughes (Anglican)

Other events included a flower festival, Archive display, social evening, afternoon on the park, Rolling Stone Cafe, Bring & Share Lunch and a special Church Lunch on the day of Pentecost.


 The History of The Church on Oakwood By Hazel Ellison (Archivist)

When the suburb of Oakwood was planned in the 1980s there was no provision made for a church of any sort. Fortunately, the vicar of St Mary’s Chaddesden had the foresight to appoint a deaconess to work in the rapidly expanding area of new housing. And so Mavis Bexon moved into an Anglican house on Appledore Drive. She mostly lived upstairs, leaving the large through room available downstairs for meetings, services etc.

The first group of Christians gathered together for weekly prayer and bible study on the spring of 1986 and the first official service was held on Pentecost Sunday in June that year. The church fellowship continued to grow and the room was often crowded – the children met in the kitchen for their Sunday school and there was often standing room only for services! It really was close fellowship. A few years later, the nuns at The Convent of the Holy Name in Morley Road offered the use of their chapel for Sunday services and so we became a church that moved in and out again for a few hours on a Sunday. This gave us the opportunity for more outreach and numbers continued to grow.

During this time plans were being made for the Church to have its own building: discussions were held with the Council about the building of the Community Centre and there was also the possibility of having a community room in the then proposed school. Neither of these options came to fruition. Alongside the Church’s plans, the Methodist Church in the area was also investigating the building of a Church and eventually was able to purchase the land at the District Centre. Plans could now be finally made for the setting up of an ecumenical partnership with Anglicans, Methodists and the United Reformed Church. The Baptist Church also negotiated and decided not to continue. The Roman Catholic Church joined the partnership a little later.

The building of the Church began in Oct 1992 and was completed and handed over at Easter 1993 when the first service was held. That year we had a big celebration at Pentecost when the building was officially opened and dedicated by leading members of all partner churches. The church continues from strength to strength with many members coming and going over the years. Several members of our fellowship have been there all along from the crowded days in Mavis’s living room through the Convent days and finally into the new building. As we begin to celebrate 25 years since the Church’s beginning we look forward to a healthy future as the church hopefully continues to grow and minister to the community around.


Steve Judd gives a personal testimony of his earliest Oakwood memories

What the Lord has done on Oakwood through a small number of people is a miracle and we need to give thanks for what’s been achieved here in the last 25 years. 

In early 1982 Carol and I had an offer accepted on a house in Sinfin. However the Lord had different ideas about where he wanted us to live! One Sunday afternoon we came up Bishops Drive from Mansfield Road, which in those days terminated at the hedgerow near the post box. That was where David Adams the Developer, brought his ‘mates’ , they climbed out of their Jag’s, Merc’s and Rollers, put the green wellies on, climbed over the gate and proceeded to divide up the fields where your homes now stand! 

We’d come to have a look at a house I’d seen in the paper, Carol wasn’t interested at all and didn’t even want to go inside. After all, we had a house in Sinfin. Once inside though, she fell in love with No 46 and the rest is history!

Once married we moved into the house and while getting it habitable began to find out what the ‘Church Leaders’ had in mind for what was to become the largest private housing estate in western Europe!
We found out they had no plan, and were fiddling about while David Adams and his developers where buying up all the land! I wrote numerous letters, made telephone calls, dropped into Church offices all to no avail. Our prayer was that there would be a Church on Oakwood for those who lived and worked here, that we shouldn’t have to travel off the estate to worship outside our community. We’d almost given up hope and had prayed about moving back to our ‘mother church’ in Littleover. One Sunday we counted the number of Churches we passed to get to Newmount Methodist……… 13!!  ‘This is ridiculous Lord, why are we travelling across Derby every Sunday and in the week; can we please have a Church on the estate?’  Be careful what you ask God for……… he might just give you the joy of your heart! Within a week of that final prayer Deaconess Mavis Bexon was stood at our front door. ‘Hello, I’m Mavis; I understand you’re interested in starting a Church on the estate. Can you come to my house 11 Appledore Drive next Tuesday and we’ll meet with others for a cup of tea and a chat’

I attended that meeting the following week with about a dozen others. We were from all different church backgrounds, held different theological positions, of different ages and from all over the country yet we got on so well right from that initial meeting. We agreed to meet again the following week for a Bible Fellowship and 6 weeks later we held our first service in Mavis’ front room – Pentecost 1986 – we had a baptism!! Mavis stood on the hearth, the band stood half inside, half on the patio, 60 people turned up! They were on the window sills, in the kitchen, in the hall and up the stairs!

It was fantastic to see all these people who’d come to worship, just because they were residents and friends who lived on Oakwood. It didn’t matter that some had a Christian background and some had none! It truly was just like Acts 2, New Testament Christianity. We’ve never experienced Christian fellowship like that and probably never will again, for which we shall always be grateful. Praise the Lord!

After 3 years of this amazing ‘grass roots’, ‘grown from the bottom up Church’, we became ‘pot bound’ at Mavis’s. So graciously the Sisters of the Holy Name invited us to use their Chapel on a Sunday.  ‘You can come for Sunday mornings for a year’ we were told ‘but you must bring everything that you need with you and take it all away when you leave each week’ We willing did that and stayed for 3 years while the ‘denominations’ finally woke up to what was happening on Oakwood. What was this ‘house church’, ecumenical thing that had grown from the people? The Church on Oakwood never was a Church plant, it wasn’t Anglican, or Methodist or URC, it always was Ecumenical and accessible for those who lived here and wanted to meet and worship together. And so in due course we moved into this lovely building which if we’re here long enough, will become socked in the prayers of the people just as we found the chapel at the Convent was!

Hopefully, this small testimony will encourage you to recognize that what we have at Oakwood is unique. A church for the people, by the people and truly ecumenical from it’s roots up not it’s branches down! That’s why those that have experienced the fulfilment of the promise we were given in Habakkuk are so passionate about this place. Habakkuk Chp 1 vs 5 & 6 ‘Look among the nations and watch for I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told! ‘ (there was a song written about that for the first service in this building!)

We’ve seen God move mightily in the last 25 years. This is just the start God has so much more for us here at Oakwood if we will just seek his face. It’s been a privilege not granted to many to be a founder member of a Church. I want to give God all the thanks and praise and glory for that.

Lets hope our time of celebrations at our 25th Anniversary will have God at the centre and we will be able to give our thanks in different ways for all that he’s done here on Oakwood.

Living in outrageous grace, Steve

25th Anniversary Edition of 'The Oracle' Magazine

Oracle 25th Anniversary August 2011.pdf1.3 MB