Building History

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Building History

The original church was founded as an Independent Chapel in 1804 on the site where Boots the chemist is now. As the congregation expanded a new larger church was needed and in 1898 the site at Shelley Road was purchased for £700 and a New Church Fund was launched to raise the cost of the building.

Plans for the new church and hall were prepared by Messrs. Spurrill & Murray and the contract to build in a brick and terracotta Early English-style was agreed with Messrs. Langley & Sons of Crawley.

On the 28th January 1903 after a public luncheon the stone laying ceremony was performed by MP J.C.Ricketts. Esq.. The progress of the building went well, no doubt providing some much needed employment in the locality and the foundation stone for the Church Hall was laid on 3rd September, and just 10 weeks later, on the 18th November the work was completed.

Rev Perkins
Rev J.P. Perkins

The Rev. J.P.Perkins was the new Shelley Road Congregational Church’s first minister and served from 1903 -07.Rev Perkins

1908  The Mayor of Worthing, Alderman Denton offered to add an extra 5% to all monies raised by the church during his year in office, in order to clear the remaining debt on the new building.

1909  The Marriages Act of 1898 was adopted, with the minister as ‘Authorised Person’, so that weddings could be carried out by the church as requested.

1911  The beautiful stain glass window in the apse was donated by a family whom wished to remain anonymous.

1912  The remaining debt on the new buildings was cleared.

1911  Brought the introduction of new ‘electric lighting’ and on the outbreak of the First World War, soldiers billeted locally were given free use of the church rooms for rest, recreation and refreshment.

1919  Saw an alteration to the membership of the Diaconate, the number of which was raised to sixteen – and four of them were ladies!

Post-war were years of growth and promise when congregations filled the church often to capacity.

1921  Saw the publication of the church’s magazine entitled ‘Bi-Monthly”, and copies of the magazine give an indication of the range of activities which were introduced and developed. The church provided the focus of social life for younger and older members as the following list suggests:

“the Young People’s Union, the Needlework Guild, Girl’s Brigade,

Boy’s Club, Band of Hope, Women’s Hour, Young Women’s Bible Class and Guild, the Ladies Working Party, The Medical Mission Circle, week night services and Choir Practices”.

A new organ was installed in this year dedicated as a memorial to those who gave their lives in the war. A 15 year old instrument built by Messrs. J.W.Walker was purchased for the sum of £1,200, with the work of installing it bringing the cost up to £2,500

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