The church that went world-wide
hundred years ago Winton saw the foundation of a small church
that was to change the lives of millions of people around the
The Apostolic Faith Church's Emmanuel Mission Hall
in Muscliffe Road was Britain's first purpose-built Pentecostal
Church and its branches and offshoots were to spread across the
The building still stands more or less as it was
built in 1908.
It was established by a man called William Oliver
Hutchinson who fervently believed in a fundamental form of Christianity
involving prophesy, the healing power of "laying on of hands"
and the gift of "speaking in tongues".
Before becoming a pastor, Hutchinson was an army
sergeant who had fought and been wounded in the Boer War. Back
in civilian life he had subsequently become the Bournemouth inspector
for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Hutchinson had apparently being praying for somewhere
to hold religious meetings when he felt himself surrounded by
angels and led to a piece of waste land. With only nine pence
in his pocket he took out a 99 year lease on the plot set back
from Muscliffe Road near to its junction with what is now Castle
Without him noticing, the owner wrote a clause into
the lease giving him the right to buy after eight years. Gifts
of money started to come Hutchinson's way and with the help of
a sympathetic bank manger the construction of the Emmanuel Mission
memorial stone in the entrance bears the inscription "To
the Glory of God 1908" and the building was duly registered
as a place of worship.
As the Pentecostalist form of Christianity grew
in popularity, Hutchinson played host to growing numbers of pastors
who in some cases would establish their own versions of the church.
Place of Pilgrimage
The Emmanuel Mission Hall rapidly made Winton a
place of pilgrimage for many thousands of people.
In the 1920's, in particular, droves of people walked
or cycled from other parts of England to be blessed or to be healed.
For many years the church contained racks of old
crutches and walking sticks - abandoned there by their owners
after being healed by Hutchinson who himself died in 1928.
The tiny church in Muscliffe Road does not have
wooden pews. It is fitted out with cinema seats, believed to have
come from the old Ritz in Wimborne Road.
Next to the main building is the Hutchinson Memorial
Hall - a former wartime Nissan hut that has recently been restored
to modern standards and is available to hire.
A small white building stands next to the church.
used to be Hutchinson's office and bookshop and, incidentally,
was the first design job completed by the architect responsible
for the Palace Court Hotel in Westover Road.
From Winton to the World
Referred to by its members as "The Root Church",
the building in Muscliffe Road is the headquarters for branches
of the Apostolic Faith Church around the world.
More than ninety years ago Hutchinson started a
regular publication called "Showers of Blessing".
It is still published weekly from Muscliffe Road
and sent to destinations including Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi,
South Africa, Canada and New Zealand.
These days, however, it goes by email.