est. 1920

A simple faith

Naomi Shearman, born on 17th March 1886, heard the call of God to return to Gloucester whilst working as a domestic servant in Canada. God promised her that if she followed Him, He would heal her crippled younger sister Frieda and she’d start a Pentecostal Church.

God healed Frieda, and on 13th November 1920, the sisters started our church in their home at 55 Blenheim Road, Gloucester.

A church on the move

The church grew from Naomi Shearman’s home to the point at which a new building was needed. In 1925 the church moved to a room above a Butcher’s Shop in Barton Street, Gloucester.

The church moved again in 1936 to a room in India Road, Gloucester, but the church still did not own it’s own building until 1957, when the church purchased its first building, a chapel on Tredworth High Street, Gloucester.

Mission at the heart

We appointed our first official minister in 1961. Idris Parry served faithfully until 1967 alongside his wife, Ruth, who was Naomi Shearman’s niece. Idris & Ruth had a strong heart for missions and served as missionaries in China, Tibet, India & the Congo. You can read about Idris & Ruth’s adventures in Ruth’s book, Impossible To Imagine.

Idris & Ruth birthed a heart for mission that lives on today. At One Church, we have a saying, “Let’s Go” which reflects our passion for mission, and we regularly send teams and support around the globe.

Meanwhile in Bristol

The Cadbury Heath Pentecostal Church was started in 1961 by Jimmy Cains and his three brothers, George, Dave and Mervyn. After purchasing a plot of land, they built what is now the front hall of One Church Bristol’s building with a desire to evangelise the new and burgeoning council estate on the fringe of Bristol.

The 1960’s & 70’s saw a massive outreach to the children of the estate and the building was often packed to the brim with children and young people.

Mike Williams took the helm in 2007 renaming the church to Suburbs Church. The church became One Church Bristol in 2013.

That same heart to reach the kids of Cadbury Heath is still alive today, with OC Kids playing a huge role in the life of One Church Bristol.

A diamond in the rough

We appointed Albert Garner in 1967 who was a travelling minister with his wife Peggy and their good friend, Michael Jarvis. Albert was full of joy and faith, and soon the church had outgrown the building in Tredworth High Street.

When a disused army barracks on the side of a hill became available, Albert saw a diamond in the rough, and the church purchased the building. At it’s opening in 1978, the key was placed in the door by a 92-year-old Naomi Shearman, fulfilling her call in 1920, and setting up the church for the next generation.

Expanding from Gloucester

When Albert Garner’s health started to deteriorate, we found our next pastor in 2006 in the form of Simon Jarvis, who was the son of Albert & Peggy’s travelling companion, Michael Jarvis.

Simon felt the call that the church must have an impact wider than just Gloucester, and after changing the church’s name to One Church in 2010, we merged with Suburbs Church, Bristol, which became our second location. We soon planted a location in Podsmead and Keynsham.

Finally, long time friend of One Church, Kennedy Makwenda, brought his church in Rusape, Zimbabwe, into the One Church Family.

What started as a church in the bedroom of a small house has become a church that is reaching the world.

The story isn’t over, however. The next 100+ years are still to be written.

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