The Grove Centre Church: Sydenham


The Grove Centre Church was founded in 1968 by the creative merger of a former Congregational Church and a Baptist Church.  It is a member church of both the United Reformed Church and the Baptist Union (see below).  This allows the church to draw on the heritage and resources of the two parent denominations and meld them together with a unique spirituality and culture of its own.

Worship and Church Life

Worship is usually based on a rich liturgy drawn from many sources, with hymns old and new, sometimes with a thoughtful or meditative style.  A group of singers and/or instrumentalists provide accompaniment occasionally.  Music from Taize and Iona is quite often used.  Children are always present for the first part of worship, which includes a special message or activity for them.

Communion is offered to all who love the Lord Jesus and are in fellowship with his Church.  Children are not normally admitted to communion.

The church practises Infant Baptism, followed later by Confirmation, and alternatively Dedication followed by Believers Baptism.  A service of Thanksgiving and Blessing of Infants is offered for those not wanting Baptism or Dedication or who feel unable to make the promises required with sincerity.  Confirmed or Baptised believers committed to be part of this congregation are received into the responsibilities and privileges of full church membership.

Contact the minister in the first instance on 020 8778 8601 to discuss services of Thanksgiving and Blessing, weddings, funerals, or to request a visit or home communion.

The minister is available in the Grove Centre Office at various times  or by appointment.

Click here if you would like to read about how to become a church member.

For details of some of our activities, see the Calendar page (under "News and Pictures")


Our Values:

God calls us together to be "a worshipping people" honouring our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

We aspire to be "a faithful people",  true to Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture, through our common life and in our personal lives, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

We aim to be  "a welcoming people", a church where all people are welcome, regardless of age, creed, colour, race, sexuality, ability or status.

We need to be "a growing people", open to change, nurturing the hope, faith and love involved in growth towards spiritual maturity and through our lives and words drawing new people of all ages into saving faith and fellowship in Christ. 

We aim to be "a caring people", who seek to understand and serve our needs and those of our local community and the wider world as laid upon us by the Holy Spirit.

As a means of showing God's love in action and in partnership with others, we intend to sustain The Grove Centre as “a place for people" at the heart of the wider community in which we are set.

(updated September 2023)

We have the following policies to download as 'Word' documents, accessed via these links:

  Environmental  Equal Opportunities


"All of you are Christ's body, and each one is a part of it."  1 Cor. 12 v 27

The Grove Centre Church affirms the ministry of all believers and recognises that the Holy Spirit gives a variety of gifts to individuals to enrich our corporate life, witness and service in the world. The church supports a wide variety of activities for all age groups.

Major decisions are made by the gathered members at the Church Meeting, held about 6 times per year on Sundays after worship.  This is usually a relaxed meeting with participation encouraged, though only members are permitted to vote.

Leadership is provided by the Diaconate, which meets on the first Thursday of each month. This consists of the Minister, church officers, serving deacons and life deacons. Officers and deacons are elected for a three year term. Deacons share pastoral responsibility for the worshipping community.

We receive no central funds - in fact, we contribute to the central funds of our two parent denominations (see below). Apart from the grant and income generated by Grove Centre room/hall lettings, the running costs and work of the church (including the minister's stipend) is entirely supported by church members, augmented by various fund-raising and social events (e.g. quizzes, auctions, autumn fair). Church members do much of the maintenance, repair and decoration of the building ourselves, to save costs. We are 'green' wherever and whenever practicable.

Churches Together

The Grove Centre Church is an active participant with Anglican, Catholic and other Free Churches in Churches Together in Sydenham and Forest Hill.  This organises shared services, study groups and other events affirming the ecumenical truth that all belong to Christ.  It is also the sponsoring body for the Voluntary Care Centre, providing advice services and a volunteer bureau in Stanstead Road and ACTS Credit Union, a saving and loans co-operative.

At regional level, a representative attends the Churches Together in South London forum, part of the national and international ecumenical movement.

The Grove Centre Church has joint services each year with Holy Trinity (Anglican) on Maundy Thursday and The Church of the Resurrection (Catholic) at Advent or Christmas.

United Reformed Church (URC)

We are part of the URC's South East London District within the Southern Synod, stretching from London to the south coast.  The synod has 183 churches with a little over 12,000 members, served by a Moderator, Revd Nicola Furley-Smith.  A national General Assembly of representatives makes policy decisions.

Internationally the URC belongs to the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and shares in the missionary enterprise of the Council for World Mission.

Baptist Union

Baptist churches form associations at various levels rather than speaking of themselves as a single church.  The Grove Centre Church is in the South Eastern region of the London Baptist Association.  At national level the Baptist Council meets to focus and share the work of individual churches.  Mission work is supporting in this country by the Home Mission Fund, and overseas by the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS).

The Grove Centre Church is usually linked with a BMS missionary.

BMS World Mission

The Wider World

The Grove Centre Church takes an active interest in issues of social justice and regularly supports Christian Aid.  We were involved in the Jubilee 2000 campaign for international debt reduction and support Christian Aid's Trade Justice campaign. In addition to denominational links we have a long term friendship with a United Methodist congregation in Liberdade, Maputo in Mozambique.  We also support the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Registered Charity number: 1129070.