The origins of a Christian witness at
Geneva Road, Darlington dates back to 1930 when a new street was built
there. A Sunday School was started in one of the new bungalows as an extension
of the work of Grange Road Baptist Church. The Grange Road church then
built a new hall on some spare land in the new road, the land being donated
to the church by Arthur Robert Doggart (of Doggart’s retailing fame).
Although Mr Doggart no longer lived in Darlington he kept a close association
with the town. He was elected President of the Baptist Union in 1929 and
remained so until his death in 1932. Shortly after his death the new hall
was named the A. R. Doggart Memorial Hall. Regular Lord’s Day services
then commenced and the Sunday school moved into the hall. The baptistry
was constructed later in 1944 and dedicated at a service on 10 December
Meetings continued in this way until 22 January 1947 when the Geneva
Road Baptist Church was formally constituted. Although a church in its
own right, the Pastor of the Grange Road church exercised a joint ministry
over the two churches. The original pastor was Rev. E.T.F. Walker. Rev.
Walker had to resign due to ill health in September 1947 and was replaced
temporarily by Rev. A. Neave and then by Rev. H.T.D. Clements on a permanent
basis in 1948.The first pastor the church had in its own right, completely
independent of Grange Road, was Rev Malcolm Beaton who was inducted on 7 October 1953 and served the church until leaving
in June 1969 to continue his ministry in Berwick upon Tweed.
The church was then without a Pastor until August 1971
Rev. Andrew Swanson took up the post, having previously provided
a student pastorate during the summer of 1970.
During 1970, the church seceded from the Baptist Union and became a totally
Andrew Swanson remained as Pastor until January 1985, when he went into
full-time missionary work Abroad. He remains as an Elder of the church at Geneva Road.
Also in 1985 the church started an outreach work in the village of Scotton,
on the outskirts of Catterick Camp following
the move there by two families who were in membership. In 1991 the Scotton
Evangelical Church was formally constituted as a church, subsequently
changing its name to the Wensleydale Evangelical Church and moving to
student pastorate during the summer of 1986,
Rev. David Campbell was inducted into the pastorate at Geneva
Road in October 1987 and his ministry continued until he left in
July 2002 to take up the pastorate of Grace Baptist Church,
Carlisle, Pennsylvania, USA.
In June 2004,
Rev. Mark Rowcroft began ministry as
Pastor of the Church after accepting the call to the post earlier in
the year. There was a formal induction service held for Mark on 10th
July attended by over 250 members and friends.