Findon Valley Free Church

The history of the Findon Valley Free Church

Meetings were first held in a cottage in York Terrace, Nepcote, led by Mr T G Graham, who built the chapel at Nepcote between 1875 – 1880.

After Mr Graham’s death in 1905, an approach was made to Worthing Baptist Church and Nepcote Chapel came under the care of the Home Missions Committee at Christchurch Road, Worthing. A Sunday School and Youth work was established in 1922, and a Women’s Fellowship in 1931. The chapel had a building fund of £40.

By 1937 numbers had slowly declined, some cottages were becoming derelict and people were moving from the neighbourhood. An approach was made to the Home Missions Committee suggesting a site be found in Findon Valley to cater for the growing community there.

An inaugural meeting was held in a marquee in Vale Drive, Findon Valley on 12th July 1939. The first few services were held in a smaller tent, but were then transferred to a flat over a shop in King’s Parade. The first service held in the flat coincided with the sirens announcing the outbreak of the Second World War.

Plans to build a brick chapel on a site in Hillview Road were unable to go ahead because of the restrictions imposed by the war, but a sectional timber building was erected, decorated and furnished. This building was opened in November 1939.

The work began to grow and it became apparent that a minister should be called and that a larger building would be needed.

On 25th July 1949, the church invited The Rev Henry Bonser to be the first minister at Findon Valley Free Church. His induction service was on 11th October 1949.

The site, on which our church stands today, was purchased in 1955, designed by R W Brough and opened in 1958. The hall was opened in 1964 and twenty years later, the extension was built.

Findon Valley Free Church

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Timeline

1860Christians began meeting for fellowship in a cottage in Nepcote.
1875At his own expense Mr T G Graham built a tiny chapel at Nepcote.
1906Chapel put under trust and placed in the care of the Home Mission Committee of Worthing Baptist Church.
1922Sunday School started.
1935Revd S F Thompson began to build up fellowship.
193912th July – the proposal to go ahead with the formation of a Free Church was agreed.
19409th April – Constitution adopted and the Church formed with 21 members.
194011th April – Revd S F Thompson welcomed them into membership.
194911th October – Induction of Revd Henry Bonser
1949Decision to join the Baptist Union to seek recognition as an Independent Church.
1955Site of present church purchased for £1,000.
19584th October – Church Opening Ceremony (cost of church building £23,500).
19609th July – Induction of Revd E J Truckle.
19644th April – Church Hall opened.
19675th January – Church Organ installed.
19714th September – Induction of Revd E B Hardy.
198026th April – Induction of Revd V R Sumner.
19841st September – Extension opened (cost of extension £90,000).
1985Introduction of Mission Praise 1.
1990Introduction of Mission Praise 2.
199050th Anniversary Celebrations.
1993Valley Mission ’93.
1994Introduction of Baptist Praise and Worship.
199522nd October – Revd V R Sumner retired.
1995Alive ’95 – Mission – Churches Together in Worthing.
199711th January – Induction of Revd D V Lewis.
1999Introduction of Loose Leaf Songbook to the Church.
2000October – Holiday Club – Mission Impossible.
2001October – Holiday Club – Mission Impossible: the Sequel.
2002October – Holiday Club – Desert Detectives.
2003Revd D V Lewis called to Hutton & Shenfield Union Church.
2004October – Holiday Club – Grand Prix.
20059th April – Revd Joel Ferreira called to be Pastor.
2005October – Installation of the fixed screen and projector in church.
2006April – Holiday Club – The Rock Zone.
2014Revd Joel Ferreira called to be Minister at Emsworth Baptist Church.
2016Revd Andrew (Andy) Gilbert called to Minister.
2016Induction of Revd Andrew Gilbert