Celebrating 350 years

Abbey Lane Church celebrates 350 years


John Ellis, the Moderator of the United Reformed Church’s General Assembly, was the preacher at a special service celebrating 350 years since the congregation first met in Saffron Walden. Local members were joined by friends from other churches in the West Essex and Bishop’s Stortford pastorate.

In his sermon, John Ellis looked back at the role that the Church had played in religious reform and the local community, and looked forward to the on-going role the United Reformed Church will play.

Abbey Lane Church traces its history back to a local congregation established in 1665 by the Revd Jonathan Paine, who is recorded as preaching ‘with great acceptance in the town and district for several years.’ Revd Paine had previously been ejected by the Established Church in Bishop’s Stortford as a result of the Act of Uniformity in 1662. This decreed that clergy of the Established Church who refused to give ‘unfeigned consent and assent’ to the Anglican Prayer Book would be deprived of their living.

In 1689 the Act of Toleration granted Non-Conformists the right to worship as they wished. A new spirit of freedom led to more than one thousand chapels being built over twenty years. One of these was the chapel at Abbey Lane, built by the congregation in Saffron Walden.

Abbey Lane Welcomes New Minister


Members of the United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church and partners from the Church of England and other local churches gathered at Water Lane United Reformed Church, Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday 5th September for the induction of Revd Caroline Vodden into the West Essex and Bishop’s Stortford Pastorate.
Caroline joins Revd Roy Fowler to complete the United Reformed Church team ministry covering Abbey Lane and Newport United Reformed Church, Saffron Walden; Stansted Free Church; Bishop’s Stortford United Reformed Church and Clavering Local Ecumenical Partnership. Caroline and her husband Paul have moved to Saffron Walden from Broadstone in Dorset.
A spokesman for Abbey Lane United Reformed Church said “We are delighted that Caroline has joined the ministerial team and look forward to her ministry in the town and across the pastorate.”

New Minister

We are delighted that Rev Roy Fowler has accepted a call to serve as the full time United Reformed Church minister across the West Essex & Bishop’s Stortford (WEBS) pastorate. WEBS covers Abbey Lane & Newport URC, Stansted Free Church, Clavering Local Ecumenical Partnership and Water Lane URC in Bishop’s Stortford.

Roy’s induction service will be held on Saturday 18th October at 2pm, in Abbey Lane Church

Iona Pilgrimage for Peace & Justice

Iona Pilgrimage

for Peace and Economic Justice

Iona 19th May – London 20th July, 2013

Below are details of the timings and route of the Iona Pilgrimage:

Sunday 14th July – Second Sunday Special

14.00/14.15  Join the Pilgrimage at the lay-by with the refreshment

caravan just north of the Genome Campus to walk five miles to

Abbey Lane.

16.00  Pilgrimage will arrive at Abbey Lane.

16.30  Hot meal for the core group of pilgrims.

18.30  Iona Evening Prayer at Abbey Lane followed by refreshments.

Monday 15th July

08.30   Pilgrimage will depart from Abbey Lane

10.00   Pilgrimage will arrive at Newport URC, Wicken (Buntingford) Road

10.30   Iona Morning Prayer, coffee and cakes.

11.00   Pilgrimage continues to Buntingford