The Way Ahead: A New Church

From the early 1890s, if not sooner, there had been hopes and preparations, in the form of a building fund, for a new church. Finally, Sir Philip and Lady Manfield agreed to provide all the funds for a splendid new church in Abington Square. The foundation stone was laid by Lady Manfield on 25th March 1896 and a 400 seat building was completed by the middle of the following year. The name of the new Church and how its objects should were to be designated were given very serious consideration. The result was the following declaration.

“Under a sense of solemn responsibility it is decided that the time has come when we should no longer put the dogmatic name expressing our particular opinions upon our place of worship, or in any way seek to legally bind our descendants by dogmatic conditions in our Trust Deeds. It is determined therefore, that however fit and honourable it may be to call ourselves Unitarians as individuals, we can no longer so name our Congregation, or our place of worship; but must leave those who come after us, to the guidance of the free spirit of God. This is felt to be right even by those members of the Congregation who for themselves cling most tenaciously to the name and are proud of the honourable history and traditions associated with it. It is decided to call the church building “The Kettering Road Free Church” and to give instructions that the Trust Deed should be so drawn up as to present no barrier to the future free development of religious thought and faith”. This was the unanimous verdict of the Congregation, in which Sir Philip and Lady Manfield fully concurred.