St Columba URC began life as Moseley Presbyterian Church, holding services in the Moseley and Balsall Heath Institute in 1893.
By 1896 the need for its own building became apparent and a plot of land was purchased on the corner of Chantry Road and Alcester Road.
After a competition between seven architects to design a rather grandiose Church, Halls, Manse and Caretakers Lodge it was decided to just build the Lecture Hall for the time being as there were insufficient funds for the full scheme.
The foundation stone was laid in December 1897 and the building completed on the site of the present church in 1899.
Within 2 years a serious defect in the building had come to light – the walls had gone out of plumb by 4 inches, the rafters had spread, rendering the building unsafe. This was repaired, with the architects paying the bill, by the use of tie bars which some said reminded them of a gymnasium. This allowed the building to survive for another 37 years.
Following a rapid growth in church numbers, especially in the Sunday School, by 1912 a new plan was put forward for a “proper” church building with seating for 320 people at a cost of £3500. Unfortunately, there was again insufficient money available and the start of the First World War in 1914 put paid to this scheme.
Eight young men of the Congregation gave their lives in this, The Great War.
After the Armistice in 1918, it was decided that the Hall building in use at the time was considered by all to be the “Church” and what was needed was additional accommodation as the church membership now stood at 123.
Eventually, in 1926, after much fundraising by the congregation and the sale of a strip of land to Park Garage (recently Halfords), the Church Halls that we have today were built. They have been used by the church and its societies and let out to other local organisations for community use since that time.
Between 1930 and 1939 Church membership rose from 150 to 300.
By 1937 the condition of the Church building became critical, the early problems never having been resolved properly, and despite the clouds of war gathering, the old church building was demolished and the lovely Church that we have today was built on the original foundations.
The old organ was refurbished and modernised and installed in the new building. It was rededicated and reopened on 31st August 1940.
It is understood to be the only church building in England to be completed during the Second World War, despite hardships in obtaining materials and workmen.
The Church was lucky to survive the bombing of Birmingham during the War, the only damage recorded being an incendiary bomb falling into the kitchen but did little damage.
By 1949 Moseley Presbyterian Church was the leading and most successful Presbyterian Church in the Midlands and in 1952 the BBC broadcast its Morning Service from the church.
A general increase in church attendances after the War saw the strength of our Church increase to a pinnacle of 387 by 1955 and the beautiful stained glass windows in the chancel were dedicated then.
The organ was removed, rebuilt and converted to electric action between June 1967 and September 1968 and relocated to its present position in the old gallery.
Throughout the Church’s life it has hosted and nurtured many organisations, amongst others its own Tennis Club, Rambling and Cycling Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Brownies, Women’s Fellowship and Fellowship of Youth.
In 1972 the Presbyterian Church and the Congregational Church were united as the United Reformed Church and Moseley Presbyterian Church became St Columba United Reformed Church.
The Chantry Cup was “played for” on the golf course annually and was won by some extremely good golfers of both sexes. This cup is now back in residence at the Church for all to see.
In 1998 a beautiful stained glass window was dedicated to the memory of a well-loved and long standing former Sunday School Registrar and this was added to in 2003 with a smaller window dedicated to her husband, a long standing Elder of the Church . In 2000 the window opposite was transformed into a stained glass window depicting St Columba and was dedicated to a former Minister and to the previous Session Clerk and Bible Class leader
In 2002 the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) were approached with a view to hiring the premises for the Board’s music exams as the Church has superb acoustics. These have progressed well and we are now a centre for examining examiners! A new piano was purchased with the Board’s guidance and it is in situ in the Church Chancel where the exams now take place.
Known as the “Jumble Sale Church“(because of its close proximity to the Village) it is now a vibrant community hub. In 2004 the Church took on a non-salaried Halls and Property manager who instigated the construction of disabled friendly paths, disabled access to the Church, disabled toilet facilities and had the floors sanded and polished. This made a tremendous difference and the halls are much in demand because of their beautiful finish. Continued promotion of the church and halls has meant that the Church is now financially secure. Money from lettings has been ploughed back into the buildings with re-wiring, re-decorating and updating health and safety requirements.
In 2006 Moseley Montessori Nursery opened in the Halls and it is now a thriving and welcome addition to the Church’s activities.
In 2010 the last Minister, Rev Leonora Jagassar moved to the London area and since then the Church has been run by our Lay Leader Fiona Elvins, supported by eight Elders.
Known in Birmingham for many years as the “Scottish Church” its roots are still evident today, but the congregation now includes English, Welsh, Scottish, Ghanaian and Caribbean members amongst others and of course all and everybody is welcome to join us in our worship.