Ministers 1983 to 2017, and Pokesdown 80s into 2000s
Rev. Reg Cook started at RPBC in 1983. His wife, Barbara, started a Mother and Toddler Group at the beginning of 1985 which often operated to capacity, and a keep fit class!
RPBC joined others in the Boscombe East area for an extensive outreach programme to the growing Littledown Estate.
Boscombe Churches decided to hold a joint Sunday evening service every two months in the participating churches in rotation.113
Rev. Reginald J. Cook, Minister at RPBC 1983 to 1997. Photo property of RPBC.
In 1991, with a membership of 146,114 the church celebrated its one hundred year anniversary. Writing in the church’s ‘Good News’ magazine, Reg Cook said:
“…the church isn’t about changing members or ministers, about changing organisations or hymns, but about the unchanging Christ. ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.’ says the writer of Hebrews. ‘O Thou who changest not, abide with me,’ says H.F. Lyte’s hymn. We thank God that amidst all the changes in our life and circumstances there is the unchanging Christ from whose love nothing in life or in death can separate us. That is what we are celebrating in 1991, the same faith that brought together those 25 in 1891 and with the same vision we go forward into the future, not knowing where it will lead us, but sure of the love of God in Christ Jesus.”115
Two nearby changes that may have impacted shopper footfall in Pokesdown were the pedestrianisation of Boscombe’s main shopping area in 1990115a, and the 2003 upgrade from the worn-out Hampshire Centre to the new Castlepoint Shopping Park on the same site.115b
An online search for photos of Pokesdown in the 1990s only yields the demolition of some of the long-established buildings. These losses are looked on sadly now by some, but I’m not sure what the mood was at the time. Was the voice of the Bournemouth Civic Society -who were trying to highlight the loss of buildings with heritage- drowned out by profit, or community apathy, or were these changes seen by some/many as helpful modernisation? What else was going on in Pokesdown during this period? From the point of view of my research so far, it’s a blank, because the British Newspaper Archive currently “only” has Bournemouth newspapers up to 1930s, I haven’t found the later equivalent of Tony Crawley’s 1963 ‘Limelight on Pokesdown’ article, and the Daily Echo online doesn’t start until about 2006. If I get to access new material in the future I may be able to provide more information.
The 1970s fire station at the top of Seabourne Road was also demolished about 1990 (but it’s hard to imagine anyone missed it).
This Victorian building, 896 Christchurch Road (the former Science, Art & Technical School) was saved after extensive repairs were carried out during 1995-98, by it’s new owners, ‘Help & Care’, with support from the National Lottery and Charitable Trusts. ‘Help & Care’ occupied this building from 1994 until April 2021, and undertook further extensive repairs, which included restoring much of the original stone work, in 2013.115e
Rev. Philip Parfitt was Minister at RPBC from 1997 to 2006. Philip, Christine (his wife) and Annabel their daughter were all involved with the church. While he was ‘in office’, the inside of the church building was completely re-vamped, the pews removed, the staging at the front also. The pulpit was removed from the wall under the cross (many in the church were unhappy about that), and the whole place painted! It was a huge job, and while that was happening, the services took place in the downstairs hall. New legislation had come in regarding having disabled toilets, so the Deacons’ Vestry was turned into one, and the door into the church put where it now is. Scaffolding had to be erected for the painting to be done. New furniture was bought – for the church as well as for the hall, replacing the plastic chairs now upstairs. New carpet was also bought for the church.116
A PDF of the newspaper articles and documents is available here. They are images, and not plain text, but they can at least be enlarged for easier viewing this way.
Alison was appointed in 2009 as part-time minister. Alison is married to Rev. Grenville Overton, who was then Regional Minister for the Southern Counties Baptist Association.
She was a very able pastor, and encouraged children’s work. Under her, we became involved with Moorlands College, and started to have students from there on placement with us. The first was Seidel Abel Boanerges (see below). At around the same time, we appointed a Children, Youth & Family Worker – Rick Cole, who with his wife Helen, had just finished at Moorlands. Sadly in January 2015 he died from a heart attack, leaving a young widow. He had managed to build up some children’s activities, and his death left the church reeling.
These 2010 and onwards articles are available as plain text (and therefore text-to-audio compatible) by following the link given underneath each to their original source.
Alison was much involved with Churches Together in Boscombe, and had suggested the local churches start an Open the Book team, taking Bible stories into a local school. She began the group, which continued the work even during the Coronavirus lock-down, via videos and messages.
She also introduced Boscombe Angels (Street Pastors), of which she was one to start with, but found she could not do that and all the other activities!117 There were six baptisms, holiday clubs, restarting Brownies, the after school club, activity days, Wednesday coffee morning group, Bible study, outreach coffee mornings, plus, afternoon church. Alison retired in 2017.
In 2009 the Pokesdown Mural Project was proposed by a local action group based at Scribe Tattooing, and they secured funding from the council to commission urban artist Soap (aka Adam Klodzinski) to design and paint a mural on the long blank wall along Pokesdown Station platform. Work began on this in June 2011. In September that year it won the Community Rail Awards for Community Arts Scheme.117a
Rev Seidel Abel Boanerges was the Associate Minister at Rosebery Park. This post was created to oversee the evangelism and outreach of the church. He joined the leadership team at Rosebery Park in 2012 and served till end of 2015 before taking on a new role as the Director of Outreach at Capernwray Bible School at Capernwray Hall.118
The booklet Rosebery Park Baptist Church: The First Hundred Years, 1891 to 1991, by Robert J. Jeans, includes much more detail on things such as internal changes to the buildings, what roles individuals undertook in the church, the different groups and activities run over the years, what outside causes and missionaries we supported, and the people who oversaw the church (called Moderators) whilst we were in-between Ministers.
Post-1991, during the “interregnum” (Minister-less gap!) between Rev. Philip Parfitt and Rev. Alison Overton, Rev. Adrian Thomas acted as Moderator, and retired minister, Rev. Derek Yates became interim minister and helped produce the new church covenant. He remained until Rev. Alison Overton was appointed. Between Rev. Alison Overton and Rev. Simon Bartlett, the interregnum was moderated by Rev. Ian Coffey of Moorlands College, and we appointed Chris Humphries (also from Moorlands) as interim minister.119
The copy and paste citation for this page: The History of Rosebery Park Baptist Church and Pokesdown, Page 6. Author: Michelle Fogg. Date: June 2021. Url: https://roseberypark.org/history/incl-pokesdown-page-6/
Rosebery Park Baptist Church, 812-814 Christchurch Road, between Boscombe and Pokesdown, Bournemouth, BH7 6DF