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     old church

 Early beginnings

On July2nd 1810 the foundation stone was laid for the church in West Street,

it was financed by John Burt from Forest Row, and the church was officially opened less than a year later 23rd April 1811, a well -known preacher of the time, Rowland Hill spoke at the inaugural service, and the church grew, opening a Sunday School in May 1811, which had 400 children attending within a year.  There was a need to accommodate more worshippers, so in 1812 internal galleries were added to the building.

Real expansion

In 1862 a class room and vestry were added to the building, which was used by the present congregation when they took over the building in the 1980s until the main church was refurbished, more  recently these have become a small hall, with a kitchen and cloakrooms. The following year the manse was built next to the church although this was eventually sold separately and is now a small block of flats.

World War 2     women

The church has been in constant use over the years, during the 1939-45 war the building was used as a canteen for servicemen, the north wall suffered bomb damage which local builders repaired in 1945. The organ was installed during the war years.

 

Neglect

The building continued to be used until 1977 when the congregation left the building, and it was left empty. 

The building had become neglected and was acquired by the present congregation in 1980; the building they were using in London Road was small and soon to be demolished. The church was led by Percy Scarland and although small in number, the members worked to address the structural problems of the building and to update it, in keeping with the style and architecture of a 200year old listed building.

 

Celebrations

The north wall was made structurally secure and the rotting floorboards were removed and a new floor installed. A baptistry was built and first used in 1988. Over the years modernisation and refurbishment have been carried out, particularly in 2010 when a major refurbishment and redecoration was carried out in preparation for the 200th anniversary celebrations.

Disabled and family access to the Churchaccess icons

Our services take place on the ground floor and we have a ramp at the side entrance for wheelchair users, people with mobility difficulties and families with prams or pushchairs.  Seating is on free-standing chairs and there is ample space for wheelchairs and pushchairs in the building.

Deaf and hard of hearing visitors

West Street Baptist Church has an induction loop installed in the main hall - where our services are held - to enable hearing aid wearers to access services by using the ‘T’ switch on their hearing aids.

Blind and partially sighted visitors

Key sermons are available on You Tube and are available as a PDF or word document, which can be accessed via a screen reader.  Our website is available in standard and enlarged text.

 “I have a severe sight loss and to help me access the hymns, I was provided with extra large print versions of the hymns for each service.  I have also been given a copy of the music and words to the hymns on a memory stick and I am given advance notice of the hymns to be sung which really helps me to feel included” – Naomi, West Street Baptist Church

Toilet facilities

There are two toilets: one of which is accessible for wheelchair users and as a baby changing area.

Parking

There are no parking facilities owned by the Church however there is street parking close by and several public car parks.

General

If you have any special requirements or need assistance to access any of our services, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.

 

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What we believe

The disciples followed Jesus for 3 years and observed Jesus’ miracles as he demonstrated his power over nature and disease.  To the horror of the disciples they witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross.  It was enough to convince them that those 3 years of their lives had been a waste.  But these same disciples eventually gave up everything and often their lives, to spread the truth about Jesus.  So, why the change?  They saw Jesus and because of the evidence they were convinced that he had risen from the dead.  God became a man and died on the cross for our sins, and has risen again.  This is the basis of what we believe.

The universe and everything in it was made by God.  But it was messed up by the disobedience of our ancestors, Adam and Eve.  Jesus came to correct their mistakes and the wrongness that we inherited from them.  Through his miracles and resurrection Jesus proved he was God in the flesh therefore we can rely on what he taught.

Jesus now offers us a way to be forgiven and to be changed from the inside.  When we believe on Him we receive a new life that will last forever.  Through this new life we have real hope and purpose that helps us through each day.  Jesus has promised to come back to this planet to make things right again.  He has promised a new eternal kingdom that will be peaceful and will have perfect justice.

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Who is in charge, who owns the church and what about money?

 

No one person is ”in charge”.  We have asked three people who come to the church to take overall responsibility for what happens at West Street. 

At each of the Sunday services one person will speak from the Bible and others from the church are involved in the events during the week.

There is a core group of people who have agreed to be involved in the practical matters of the Church and these people are known as church members.  The church members own the church building through a Trust which is registered as a place of worship with the Charities Commission.

 

We don’t want people to pay to come to church and we don’t take a collection during the services.  God has always provided for the practical needs of the church, both by people giving money and, more importantly, people using their various skill and abilities to do what is needed.