Goring United Reformed Church

History 1930s to 1950s

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Congregational Church

The Congregational Church in Shelley Road, Worthing c.1903. ( Photograph reproduced with kind permission of Rob Blann, taken from his book “Edwardian Worthing” )

Our Story Begins…

Our story starts in the early 1930’s when plans were under way to build a new church in the rapidly growing area to the west of Worthing.

Worthing Congregational Church in Shelley Road was the only church of that denomination in the area and so worshippers living in the west Worthing area probably had to walk into town – a distance of 2-3 miles.

Goring Congregational Church was planned for the late 1930’s but the war intervened and the new Church wasn’t constituted until 1940, with the building being delayed until 1947.

The present church building was opened in 1961.

The pre-war years 1930 – 1939

During the early 1930’s the district west of central Worthing was rapidly changing, new houses were being built; and a few shops had also been built in Goring Road. Along the Goring Road to St Mary’s Church in Goring by sea there still remained a beautiful unmade-up country lane and, on an Estate Agent’s board, folk were invited to “Come and live in this Old World Lane”.

Shelley Road Congregational Church was the nearest church (of that denomination) to Goring, and moves were already under way by Shelley Road Church and the Sussex Congregational Union to erect a new church in Sompting (now Somping URC) to serve the needs of a non-conformist church in the Sompting and Cokeham area.

A Church Extension Sub Committee was set up to explore the possibilities of finding a suitable site for a new church building and it was during 1936 that they presented their report. They reported that a plot of land, known as Field Place Estate had been offered to them at very advantageous terms. A bridge over the railway line had recently been built and a wide road was being constructed between the Littlehampton Road and Shatesbury Avenue.

The Southern Railway were proposing a new station (now Durrington on sea) to serve the ever increasing population. The committee suggest that not less than 3/4 acre site be secured, this was to give sufficient space for the erection of a Church Hall, Church, car parking and when the time was ripe also a Manse. The Church should have a seating capacity of 250. Cost of the building £2400 including furnishing. Cost of land £1600. 1930s

During the early 1930’s the district west of central Worthing was rapidly changing, new houses were being built; and a few shops had also been built in Goring Road. Along the Goring Road to St Mary’s Church in Goring by sea there still remained a beautiful unmade up country lane, and on an Estate Agent’s board, folk were invited to “Come and live in this Old World Lane”. The farm building on the right in the photograph marks the spot which is now the Goring Road/Shaftesbury Avenue junction with traffic lights ! Shelley Road Congregational Church was the nearest church (of that denomination) to Goring, and moves were already under way by Shelley Road Church and the Sussex Congregational Union to erect a new church in Sompting (now Somping URC) to serve the needs of a non-conformist church in the Sompting and Cokeham area.

A Church Extension Sub Committee was set up to explore the possibilities of finding a suitable site for a new church building and it was during 1936 that they presented their report. They reported that a plot of land, known as Field Place Estate had been offered to them at very advantageous terms. A bridge over the railway line had recently been built and a wide road was being constructed between the Littlehampton Road and Shatesbury Avenue. The Southern Railway were proposing a new station (now Durrington on sea) to serve the ever increasing population. The committee suggest that not less than 3/4 acre site be secured, this was to give sufficient space for the erection of a Church Hall, Church, car parking and when the time was ripe also a Manse.

The Church should have a seating capacity of 250. Cost of the building £2400 including furnishing. Cost of land £1600. 1940s Worthing’s Local Paper:  ‘The Herald’, Friday, August 2 1940 :- Goring Free Church  ALL Free Churchmen are asked to note that Goring Free Church ser-vices are being held every Sunday in Elm Grove School.  It had been hoped that the building of the new church would have been well in hand by this time, but the war intervened, and the project has been indefinitely postponed. Elm Grove School

Joseph Morris Bold

Joseph Morris Bold

Ministry of Rev Morris Bold

Morris Bold  led the first service of the new church on the 4th August 1940 at Elm Grove School Hall. 37 friends attended the first morning service.

 

 

 

 

Frederick  J H Humphrey

Frederick J H Humphrey

Ministry of Rev Frederick J H Humphrey

Rev F J H Humphrey was called to Elm Grove in 1942 and became minister at Goring until 1947. He was a much loved man and was held in high regard by the whole church and occupied an affectionate place in the hearts of all people with whom he came in contact . During his ministry at Goring, a church building fund was started , Ladies Working Party established, a class for the ‘little ones’ under the leadership of Mrs Humphrey’s sister, a branch of the Bible Reading Fellowship was started and an issue of a News Sheet was introduced. Mr A J Rule came to the church from Sheerness and proved to be richly endowed with a more than usual radiant personality—he was a steward—took a very active role in the running of the Management Committee—became Secretary.

 

Issue of the first magazine – The Chronicle.

At a meeting of the Committee of Management on the 17th April 1944 the Secretary, Mr A J Rule raised the question as to the issue of a news sheet on alternate months to Shelley Road’s “Outlook” magazine. The meeting asked Mr Rule to undertake the work of its preparation and publishing and during the following meeting in July of that year he reported that 150 copies of the 1st number of the “Elm Grove Chronicle” had been issued at a cost of 18/6 (92½p).  It was decided not to make any charge. Stone Laying Although a date for the stone laying ceremony was actually fixed for November 1939 the complete building programme was very much delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War, in fact operations had to be abandoned for the time being.

All issues of ‘The Chronicle Magazine’ may be viewed here

 

Ministry of Rev Sydney O Morgan

Rev Sydney O Morgan came to Goring in December 1947, initially for 12 months only,
but as the Church was in desperate need, he agreed to stay for a further period of time.

He was minister of this Church at the time when the new Church [Now the Main Church Hall] was opened in 1949, and was present for the stone laying in June 1948. See pictures.

On 13th May 1948 the Church Management Committee gave way to the first Deacon’s Meeting; in November.

Early in 1950, Rev S O Morgan moved away, and Church Meeting recommended that Rev H M Springbett be called to the pastorate.

Mr Morgan lived in Worthing after his retirement until his death at the end of 1963.


1950s

Church opened

With a  new Congregational Church opened on the first of March 1949 as a new dual purpose building, and initially led by the minister, Rev Sidney Morgan;  the Rev H M Springbett was called to the church and inducted to the pastorate in 1950.

Harold Springbett

Harold Springbett

Ministry of Rev Harold Springbett

When Mr Springbett wrote on the occasion of our 50th anniversary, he said in his letter,

” My stipend was less than £7 per week, with no allowance for expenses or telephone, and, of course,  no car. All my visiting was done on foot, by bicycle or on public transport. There was no washing machine of freezer, no television and no colour photography.  Times have changed and the minister here at my church in Aberdaron rejoices in his word-processor.  [Video Clip]

I was inducted on 9th February 1950.  The Manse was at 19 Brook Barn Way, and I soon aquired an allotment between it and the sea to help feed the family. I was the first full time minister of the Congregational Church which had previously been overseen by a retired Baptist Minister, the Rev F J H Humphrey who had died some time before I came. His widow, with her sister, Miss Green, were members of the congregation.

When I arrived, there were some 90 members on the Church Roll, that number rising to some 135 by the time I left in the summer of 1953.     I also note from my diaries that as early as the spring of 1951 there was a Building Committee to give preliminary thought to the erection of a Church building proper.”

Sunday School Hall opens

It wasn’t long before a separate hall was needed for the children of the ‘Sunday School’, and this was opened in November 1950. Mr Springbett can be seen to the right of the picture.   Chronicle 50th Issue In the 50th issue of The CHRONICLE July-August 1952 it was written – ‘In these past eight years since May 1944, when the first Chronicle appeared, there have been crowded varied experiences for us as a growing Church, and this 50th issue may well serve to remind us how much we owe to some of those who have now passed on. To be able to look back and trace God’s guiding hand is never wasted time. From the pulpit at Elm Grove in the earlier days, it was once suggested that each one of us might do worse that sit down quietly and make a list of all those to whom we owe so much in our personal lives. None of us would find this an easy task, for it would be found extremely difficult to know when to stop, and what order to place the names in.’  See pictures

Franks

Rev Cyril Franks

At a well attended Special Church Meeting held on 17th December 1953, and presided over by Rev S O Morgan, (who had again consented to help while the Church was without a minister) it was decided to give a very cordial call to the Rev Charles Cyril Franks of Garn Congregational Church, Abercarn to the ministry at Goring. Mr & Mrs Franks were to come to a church which was ripe for expansion and which was full of opportunity for a man in the prime of his life. He came with his wife, Joan in March 1954. By 1958, Joan & Cyril had a family of four and a new Manse was required. The Brook Barn Way Manse was sold for £2820 and the 140 George V Avenue Manse was purchased for £4500. Rev Cyril Franks, Minister of Goring Congregational Church 1954-1963.  [Video Clip]

Next Decades

It wasn’t long before a separate hall was needed for the children of the ‘Sunday School’, and this was opened in November 1950. Mr Springbett can be seen to the right of the picture.   Chronicle 50th Issue In the 50th issue of The CHRONICLE July-August 1952 it was written – ‘In these past eight years since May 1944, when the first Chronicle appeared, there have been crowded varied experiences for us as a growing Church, and this 50th issue may well serve to remind us how much we owe to some of those who have now passed on. To be able to look back and trace God’s guiding hand is never wasted time. From the pulpit at Elm Grove in the earlier days, it was once suggested that each one of us might do worse that sit down quietly and make a list of all those to whom we owe so much in our personal lives. None of us would find this an easy task, for it would be found extremely difficult to know when to stop, and what order to place the names in.’