History of New Life

The History of New Life Video - up to 2013

New Life Church owes its origin to a total commitment to Christ, coupled with a deep yearning for the salvation of souls, on the part of a young Christian named Albert Marwood. Aged only twenty-three, Albert responded to what he believed to be God’s call to Billingham.

He obeyed God’s leading by taking a bold step of faith in moving with his wife, Betty, to Billingham, where, subject to God’s guidance and provision, he was led to establish a Pentecostal testimony in this growing community. 

It was in May, 1953, that Albert first began holding regular meetings for prayer and worship in Billingham.

In 1958, their first building was placed on the site given to them by the council on Low Grange Avenue. Albert accepted an offer of the use of a “mobile church” for a period of about twelve months. At a meeting of the Billingham Urban District Council Development it was agreed that, “Approval be given to the use of the site for services and the Clerk to arrange an alternative parking place for the mobile church when not in use”. Incidentally, as things turned out, the wheels immediately sank into the soil and the “mobile” structure inevitably became an unofficial fixture! While to many, this may have appeared as something of a novelty, to Albert, church members and friends it represented a major step forward.

Billingham Pentecostal Church, Low Grange Avenue, officially opened on Saturday, 4th May, 1963.

In the late 70s a young man called Cliff Henderson, who had just been released into full time ministry at Bishop Auckland, arrived to preach and finding the church doors still locked, he occupied his time walking around the building: whilst at the rear of the building he had an overwhelming sense of what God could do at Billingham.

Albert, along with the church officers met during the next week and decided to ask Cliff if he would be prepared to come and take over the pastorate of the small church.

He declined the invitation as he had committed himself to serve the church at Bishop Auckland for an initial period of twelve months. 

Both Cliff and his wife Olwyn sought God over the issue and both felt that God was leading them to pastures new. Several offers had been received to take up pastorates in different parts of the country, which became the focus of prayer as to what God would have them to do.

One morning, whilst in prayer over these issues and having had no contact with the Billingham church for several months, the same overwhelming sense of what God could accomplish at Billingham, that first surfaced ten months previously, once again gripped Cliff’s attention and the thought came, ‘I will phone Albert and ask him how things are doing at Billingham?’ Remarkably, on that very morning Albert was also in prayer and his request to the Lord was, ‘Lord, we believe it is Your will for Cliff Henderson to come to Billingham, but we won’t ask him again. If You want him here let him contact us.’ 

In April 1979 Cliff with his wife, Olwyn, took over the pastorate at Billingham. His arrival commenced another chapter in the life of Billingham A.O.G. Church.

Owing to the increase over the years the church had started a number of community outreach programmes. These included a Playgroup, Parent & Toddler group and an After School Care/Holiday Care facility.

All of these took place in two classrooms situated at the back of the church. Even with the enlargement of the church premises in 1992 the building was now proving inadequate to cater for the growth of the departments and further premises were sought. Again God would prove to be faithful with the acquisition of the Oakdene Infants School in 1999 – situated just 250 yards from the church building, now known as New Life Family Centre, where all of the children’s work now takes place.

In 2011 the church decided to relocate the Sunday morning meetings into the Family Centre to accommodate further growth. They also launched Billingham FoodBank, to help people in crisis by supplying much needed food. 

In September 2013 they opened a new building in Stockton. This old Brethren Church, right near the town centre became available and New Life was able to purchase it. Based on Parliament Street - this church building helped them establish a firm foothold in Stockton, in a location that is a great base from which to reach out.

On June 28th 2015, the role of Senior Minister of New life Church, Teesside was passed from Cliff Henderson to Luke Taylor and his wife Emilia.

In 2016 they established a new work in Seaton Carew, where they meet in the Staincliffe Hotel every week.

Please pray for the church as we ever seek to move forward to what God has called us to do, that we will always go where God is sending us and we will always respond to challenges with faith. A lot has been achieved since 1953, but there is much still to do. We have a rich history of serving Teesside - but we are looking to the future and the job God has given us.

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