The History of Reformed Church Witness in Summertown

(Much of the information below and on the submenu relating to Buildings is obtained from “Summertown since 1820”, a history of the area by Ruth Fasnacht and published by St Michael’s Publications in 1977.)

The story of ‘Free Church’ or ‘Nonconformist’ witness in Summertown goes back to 1824 with the opening of a small “Dissenting Meeting House” in Middle Way. At this time Summertown itself was only a small village with open country to the south almost as far as St Giles’, within whose parish it lay. The first Congregational Church Fellowship was formed in 1842 and the foundation stone of its first chapel was laid in 1843. The history of the various church buildings and of the people who worshipped in them may be read on the submenu links alongside.

Summertown URC has had historically close links with Mansfield College and former members of the church have included Nat Micklem, Norman Goodall, George Caird, C. H. Dodd and John Marsh, three of whom were principals of Mansfield College and all of whom were well known in the history of the ecumenical movement. Ordinands from the College come from time to time to serve in the parish, gaining experience of working in an ecumenical partnership. Most recently Sheena Dickson has served in this way in 2002-2004.

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