The presence of non-conformist worshipping community in Wendover dates back to the 17th century when Christians of Baptist convictions began to meet together and later developed two small cottages for their meetings, which became Wendover Baptist Church. The Congregationalists erected a building in Wendover in the early 19th century and in the 20th century became Wendover United Reformed Church. St Mary’s Church of England is probably the oldest building in the town, dating back in parts to the 13th century. St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church was built in the 1960s.
All different churches with different forms of worship they may have been, but all acknowledge Jesus and Lord and Saviour and, in a spirit of co-operation formed a Wendover Council of Churches in the 1970’s, meeting together for special services from time to time and working together in such things as Christmas and Easter greetings to the people of Wendover.
In 1975 Wendover Baptist Church sold its Manse and bought a larger house for the minister and family, which was renamed ‘Dayspring’ for the purpose of having guests in need of counselling, prayer and healing. This work was supported by church members.
Both United Reformed Church and Baptist Church were at this time supported by financial grants from their parent bodies and both had ministers. They both also had old buildings, which needed large sums of money to maintain them. It seemed right for the two congregations to combine and meetings were held at local and regional level to press ahead with this project. The two churches began to worship together each Sunday and after two years joined together as Wendover Free Church, the inaugural service being held in April 1983. The burden of the two buildings remained, however, since both needed structural work and the cost of a new site and building would be prohibitive. The church decided, after much discussion and prayer, to accept an imaginative solution presented by the Roman Catholic priest to share St Anne’s Church, which he dreamt would become an ecumenical centre.
The two old buildings were sold in 1985, a sharing agreement for the joint use of St Anne’s Church was negotiated and a new building was erected behind the church to be used as meeting rooms, with offices, kitchen and storage space. When ‘Dayspring Trust’ was wound up, some money was used for the purchase of a new Manse and some was ploughed into the new building at St Anne’s in recognition of a continuing work of Christian healing. The buildings are now regularly used by St Mary’s Church too, including one weekly and one monthly Communion Service, and another Sharing Agreement was drawn up in 1992 to accommodate their use. A Management Committee was formed which still manages the joint premises.