In the 1860s local Christians had a vision to plant two new churches. One, St Oswald’s, would serve the growing area of New Bilton. The other, St Matthew’s, would serve the south and west of the town centre. Over the years these two churches developed in different traditions within the Church of England: St Oswald’s more Anglo-Catholic, and St Matthew’s more evangelical and later charismatic. St Oswald’s continued to serve New Bilton in particular, and St Matthew’s from the town centre had a town-wide ministry.
In 1995 St Matthew’s with St Mark’s Bilton sent a group of people to begin a new church on Overslade. Overslade Church has been a wonderful influence for good in the neighbourhood, in particular contributing to the building of the new Community Centre on Buchanan Road and witnessing a change in the atmosphere on the estate.
In recent years the clergy of St Matthew’s were asked to take over the leadership of St Oswald’s and in time a new parish was formed. Then, owing to issues with the St Matthew’s building, that congregation moved to worship at St Oswald’s. At beginning of 2012 the move was made permanent, and the new church of St Matthew and St Oswald’s was formed with a fresh sense of calling to the neighbourhoods of the parish.
This heritage means that we have all experienced a lot of change in recent years. This hasn’t always been easy! However, we sense a fresh season in our lives as a church and a fresh calling to follow Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).