A Short History



Northside Church grew out of a Sunday School started in the home of David and Janet Cunningham in June 1971 with 23 children. A holiday mission in September attracted many more children and a Home & Family Week in 1972 generated adult interest Initially the group was called the “Northern Suburbs Christian Fellowship”. It was interdenominational in character, although it was sponsored by the Salisbury Baptist Church, organised by a nucleus of members of that church and financially supported by it. Soon the interest and support had increased to such an extent that the fellowship was self-supporting and it was decided to constitute an independent church.

Initially the group was called the “Northern Suburbs Christian Fellowship”

The first constitution was adopted by the twenty-five Foundation Members on the 25th January 1973, the formal “birthday” of the church. The founding agreement is framed in the Church Office and some of the twenty-five are still members.

For many years the church had no full-time minister or staff and the pastoral and administrative work was done by individual members through an Executive Committee. The increase in the congregation and the corresponding increasing calls on the leadership necessitated changes in the organisation of the church body and in 1975 the first three Elders were appointed to take special responsibility for the spiritual and pastoral work. Over the years Northside has had two “full-time part-time” Elders who have contributed immeasurably to the growth of the church: David Cunningham and Peter Griffiths.


In February 1976 a series of neighbourhood outreach meetings were conducted by Rev Andre Erasmus from Cape Town, under the title “The Other Man in Space”. In January 1977 Rev and Mrs Charles Pocock arrived in Harare to pastor the church for a year, on secondment from their church in Hove, England. That year was a period of notable growth as Charles and Enid were free to devote their full time to ministering in the area. In July 1978 Rev & Mrs Graham Jones commenced a period of ministry that lasted till May 1982. Again this was a period of steady and consolidated growth.





When the Scout Hall became too small the morning services were moved to the Vainona Primary School Hall. In 1978 the format of the morning service was changed to an all-age Sunday School for a while, to provide the opportunity for adult discussion and growth groups. At that time also the Francis Schaeffer film series “How Shall We Then Live” was presented as an integral part of the morning services.

For many years the Cunningham’s home was used for Sunday School, worship services, church meetings, youth groups and other supplementary activities. In parallel the Sunday School and morning services expanded into the Scout Hall and this has been used for 15 years for Northside activities. The move to the Vainona Primary School Hall solved the accommodation problems for a while but in 1982 it became clear that even this was not adequate as the logistical problems of storage for books, Sunday School equipment, cups, etc. were becoming too burdensome. We needed our own home base. The building project was launched on two fronts. One was to obtain a suitable site, and the other to raise the funds for a building. It would take too long to detail how each was brought to a successful conclusion. But each was spectacularly successful and we are very grateful to God for the way He has provided these essential facilities for us.

In 1982 it became clear that we needed our own home base.

Work started in 1984 and the building was used for the first time at Easter 1985. By mid-1986 the total cost of $265 000 had been paid off and Stage 2 was being planned.

In 1986 the church ran a Lay Witness mission and at this time Ian and Adie Wilsher were invited to join the staff to help with the pastoral work.

The original constitution included an agreement to apply for membership of the Baptist Union of Central Africa (now the Baptist Union of Zimbabwe). The members considered there to be worthwhile advantages in being linked to an established denomination in preference to being an unattached “non-denomination”. The Baptist Union is a consultative, not a controlling organisation and the church therefore retains full responsibility for its internal government, finances and properties. Membership of the Union provides an opportunity for consultation and co-operation with other churches in Southern Africa that are doctrinally compatible.

Northside does not use the word “Baptist” in its name because it seeks to provide a spiritual home for any persons who have no other effective church connections.

Northside does not use the word “Baptist” in its name because it operates without respect to denomination in its service to the community in the Borrowdale area and seeks to provide a spiritual home for any persons who have no other effective church connections. It has always practised “open membership” and baptism is not a pre-condition for membership.

The growth of the church has made it necessary to update the original constitution. Discussions took place over a number of years and the new constitution was adopted by the church membership on 18th June, 1986.





During the period 1986 to 1995 Northside grew significantly in the size of its membership under the teaching of Peter Griffiths as senior elder and, later, Ian Wilsher as Minister. In 1990 morning services had to be duplicated to accommodate the congregation. As a result in 1991 it was decided to further increase the building facilities with an auditorium to seat 750 persons. This was completed in late 1993 and officially opened in early 1994.

The increasing size of the church has made it necessary to revise certain of the procedural provisions of the Constitution and the By-laws.

Further changes were made to the Constitution in 2007 that changed the leadership structure and to include small group leaders and ministry leaders. These 2 leadership groups were recognised alongside the Elders and Deacons.

The Mission statement has remained unchanged and is based on the 2 Great Commandments and the Great Commission. The values have also remained unchanged. In this way, despite the change in numbers and demographics over the years, the essential character of the Church has remained unchanged.

In January of 2013 we celebrated the 40 years anniversary of the church.



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