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Historic church celebrates 200 years

A historic church in Peckham that was started in the house of a former pastor is celebrating its 200th year anniversary starting this month, writes Jessica Aszkenasy…

Rye Lane Baptist Chapel was started in 1818 when a pastor decided to invite worshippers into his home on Hill Street, after he was unable to find a Baptist church in the area.

His services became so popular that he had to relocate to a local barn, and then to a school, before a permanent chapel was built the following year.

The chapel used to stand where Peckham Rye station stands today, but was abolished to make way for railway developments in the second half of the nineteenth century. It survived multiple bombings during the Second World War, and was closed from 1943 to 1948 after its roof and school hall were almost completely destroyed.

Bomb damage to the Sunday School

Today the chapel holds a prominent place in the community. Twenty-nine-year-old Shontice Morris from Nunhead, a member of the chapel’s Bicentennial Committee, remembers growing up with the church. “I grew up with the church, the Sunday school teachers from when I was small are still there,” Shontice told the News.

“Even when people don’t stay for very long they always make a positive impact. No one leaves the church unchanged,” she said. Celebrations kick off with the Peace Service, to be held at the chapel on January 18.

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