History of Balham SDA Church
By the late 1960s the small Adventist church at 184-188 Ferndale Road, Brixton, was bursting at its seams. It was evident that a much bigger church was needed so the search began.
One of its members found a potential building and the local Pastor, Theodore Mc’Leary along with other leaders, went to Balham to view the building and the decision was made to purchase it for £18,000.
On the 13th of October 1969, Balham Seventh - Day Adventist Church held its first worship service in the building. Approximately, 38 core members from the Brixton Seventh Day Adventist Church were founding members.
Much renovation was needed and later on we learnt that the building had belonged to Spiritualists. We found relics, books, a sign of the Zodiac on the floor etc. which confirmed it had belonged to Spiritualists. Some senior members had even told of sightings of "things" that appeared "supernatural" but these were not confirmed by others, but suspicions continued for years.
The building served us well for a number of years. However, the flat roof which often leaked, despite several attempts to patch it, was an ongoing problem. Clearly something major needed to be done but we had also outgrown a building with only a sanctuary and a hall. The decision was made to demolish the building and construct a purpose-built facility, which would be able to cater for the needs of the members and the community.
The work began for this in 1985. After a number of setbacks, work began in earnest and so we had to find alternative accommodation and worshipped at St. Paul’s Church of England, in Chillerton Road, Tooting, from 1987-1989. However, by early 1989 the gym was completed and we were able to return to worship in the gym until the sanctuary was completed. Over the years we found ourselves working hard to complete the project which would include a Gym, Resource centre and Sanctuary.
Over the next twenty years, the project had undergone many setbacks, as we found the project was costing more than we were expecting. As a result of a review, the Church Board and the Church at Business Meeting appointed an Architect/Qualified Surveyor to lead the completion of The Balham Church Building Project. This started in September 2008 and was completed in April 2009. It was 22 hard years but now we are at least able to take advantage of the whole facility. To God be praised.
Highlights of Balham Church
Over the years there have been several notable moments and achievements under 16 Senior Pastors and 7 interns or Pastoral students.
Over the last 22 years we have held evangelistic campaigns every year and have seen several baptisms. Even though the Church has not had a branch come out of it, several members have moved their membership to start other branches, notably in Norbury and Mitcham Church.
A number of members have gone into the ministry or have been actively involved in preaching at Campaigns, both here and abroad. We have played significant roles in developing Adventist music in the UK and several of our members have lead out or been involved in Choirs which won national TV choir awards.
Several of our members have been involved in helping to establish or leading out in London wide church events. One such organisation includes the London wide Youth organisation in which Anthony Fuller was voted as President of the London Youth Federation in 2003. He is now a Pastor and is the SEC Youth Director. The Youth have also been successful in London wide Church sporting events over a number of years.
We have also have had a member, Sylvia Bernard, who was awarded the British Empire Award for work in the Community both here and abroad. The Pathfinders were also awarded for their contribution to the London Faith and Belief Forum.
The Church continues to seek ways to become active and useful in the Community as well as providing the platform for spiritual and social growth of it’s members.