Goring United Reformed Church

History 1960s to 1980s

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New Church Building Opens [The present one]

It is probably true to say that without exception, everybody who attended Goring Congregational Church in 1960 and 1961 was getting very excited about the new church building that was being erected at the junction of Shaftesbury Avenue and Barrington Road. A monthly progress was being reported in the Church magazine.

[Video Clip: Rev Cyril Franks for our Golden Jubilee. Speaking about the new church building]

The Dedication of  “The Cornwall Room”
A new room was required for the furtherance of children’s and young peoples work which was built between the main church building and the main hall.

The new room in memory of the late Charles Cornwall was dedicated during the Family Service on Sunday morning,
the 12th March, 1967. Charles Cornwall, keen on children’s work, was one of the founder members and also one of the earliest deacons of this Church.

The minister, Rev Wallis Hayward led the way into the Cornwall Room, followed by the Architect, members of the late Mr Cornwall’s family and representatives from the Building Contractors and organisations of the Church.  A simple yet most impressive ceremony of dedication which was conducted the service and relayed into the Church for all to hear.

Changing times

Haywards  Wallis and Marjorie Hayward

[Video Clip: Marjorie Hayward speaking for our Golden Jubilee about their time with us.]

The 1970’s were very much times of change for the Church, opening with the Rev. Wallis Hayward as our Minister (who actually came in 1964), one whose ministry was notable for his love and affection for young people. He was keenly interested in the running of the Junior Church, the Youth Club, the Girls’ Brigade and the Boys’ Brigade, of which he was Captain for a number of years. Retirement in December 1973 loomed for Wallis but before that happened the Congregational Union and the Presbyterian Churches in England and Wales combined in October 1972 to form the United Reformed Church, an event having far-reaching consequences for us all.


Housing association

In the late ’60’s, steps were taken to form the Goring (Sussex) Congregational Housing Association, an initiative on the part of the Church to make provision for sheltered accommodation for those of our elderly members who no longer wanted the responsibility for the running of a house or flat. After years of planning and fund raising, 2 Shaftesbury Avenue was purchased and modified to provide five flatlets. In June 1974, Revd Wallis Hayward returned from retirement to officially open the house, named after him.


The Rev H W Theobold (right), interim moderator hands over the keys to the Rev Wallis Hayward who opened the Flatlets on Saturday 2nd June 1974.

In January 1974 Wallis Hayward wrote his last Pastoral letter in the Chronicle before retiring with Mrs Hayward to Otford in Kent. In his letter he thanks the members for all that they had meant to them, for the friendship that they shall never forget. He said that there is a future for this Church, greater than its past has ever been and that their part will be to remember us in their prayers, to pray for the Church’s guidance into a new ministry and then for the inspiration and sustaining of that ministry.

[Video Clip: Marjorie Hayward]

Rev William Connelly

It was only a month or two before Rev William Connelly then at present the minister at West Bridgeford URC was called to Goring to ‘preach with a view’ on 17th February 1974. After an interregnum of approximately six months, Revd. William Connelly accepted a call from the Church to be its Minister and was inducted in August 1974, leading to a caring ministry which extended over 16 years in which the Church continued to thrive. Like Wallis before him, William was keenly interested in developing work among children and young people and promoted several initiatives in this area of the Church’s ministry to the community.   Rev William & Mrs Connelly moved to Worthing with their family at the end of July ready for his induction service to take place on Friday 2nd August.


The team of elders in 1974:

Standing from left  – Norman Dobson, Ted Winstanle, Eric Popplestone, Bill Perrett
Roy Webb, Lilah Harris, John Blackwood, Connie Gill, Colin Nodes, Arthur Razzell
Freda Calsteren, Douglas Mooney, Ralph Beal and Charles Stephens

Seated from left  – Eric Bond, William Connelly and Norman Redman


Outreach to West Durrington


On retirement to Worthing, Revd. Ron Christopher [Video Clip] quickly entered into the life of the Church, endearing himself to all and was appointed as Associate Minister with special responsibility for the development of the Local Ecumenical Project (LEP) at Durrington. In February 1980 The Chronicle reported that a steering committee had been at work considering the possible erection of a Community Centre at Tesco supermarket site in Durrington.

The Rev Ron Christopher, serving on this committee was concerned that there should be enough enthusiasm for the project, for without there could not be such a centre. He appealed to anyone living in the Durrington and Salvington areas who would be willing, as part of the outreach, to open their home for a group of neighbours or acquaintances to meet for social and religious purposes. He especially asked for prayers of the Fellowship, because, he believed the next few months would be decisive for the future.


On the 2nd November 1984 the Mayor of Worthing handed the keys of the Durrington Community Centre to the Chairman of Community Association who then requested Rev Ron Christopher to dedicate the building. The ceremony was followed by a reception attended by members of the Worthing Borough Council. The first service to be held at the Centre was on 2nd December 1984.

Demolished in 2012 and a Tesco Superstore stands in its place. however, a new Community Centre was built at the other end of the site, and opened to the public in 2012.

The Harris Room & Kitchen Extension


By the end of 1985 work was well under way with another extension, the ‘Harris Room’, the link passage and the kitchen. The Harris Room was especially designed for small meetings.

This extension was built using the legacy given by Miss M. E. Harris of Angus Road, a member of the church from 1952 until she died in 1973. Her gift was to be invested and used ten years after her death for any purpose that the church deemed fit. Various people contributed to its furnishings; Mr Fred Marsh making the wooden cross which hangs on the wall.

[Video and Audio recordings made during William Connelly’s Ministry.]

[Video Clip of a Church week-end away at ‘The Links Conference Centre’ in Eastbourne.]

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