A Brief History: St. Paul’s (Church of England) Church, Canford Heath
The majority of the houses on the Canford Heath estate were built in the seventies and eighties and, with the establishment of this community, came a growing need for a local church. In 1979 a small group of residents had begun worshiping together in what is now the vicarage in Rowbarrow Close. After two years of planning and fund raising a new church with a capacity for eighty people, called St. Paul’s Church Centre, was built and dedicated as part of the Oakdale team ministry.
Now used as the church hall this new building was frequently full to bursting with the Sunday School having to meet elsewhere. Plans for a larger church were therefore developed. Extensive publicity and fund raising followed and the new church – the current St. Paul’s – was dedicated in July 1989.
The chapel is named after St. Simon of Cyrene following links established by the parish rector with a church of that name in Botswana which was under construction at the same time as St. Paul’s.
In 2006 St. Paul’s Canford Heath became a separate parish and part of the North Poole Ecumenical Team. Today the building of St. Paul’s church is shared with Canford Heath Baptist Church. The members of these churches work together on some projects and hold joint services on Sunday evenings and at Christmas, Easter and one or two other occasions during the year. There are separate services on other Sunday mornings with the main worship starting at 9:30 am.
In 2009 St Paul’s celebrated its 20th birthday in the current church building with a visit from the Bishop of Gloucester Rt Revd Michael Perham an ex Team Rector at Oakdale, our founder church. St Paul’s celebrated its 25th anniversary on 6 July 2014 with Rt Revd Bishop Graham Kings, Bishop of Sherborne.
On 1st January 2017, St Paul’s Canford Heath became a Benefice in its own right.
Clergy at St. Paul’s Church:
1980 – 1982 Rev. Jack Milverton
1982 – 1989 Rev. Bruce Wakeling
1990 – 1995 Rev. Jeremy Oakes
1996 – 2007 Rev. Mike Oates
2008 – 2015 Rev. Peter Gibbs
2010 – 2013 Rev. Christine Brooks (curate)
installed 2016 Rev. Matthew Williams