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Lindfield Evangelical Free Church
Chaloner Road, Lindfield, West Sussex.

Church Life
Christian Life


   Church History

In 1989 the Evangelical Free Church celebrated fifty years of worshipping in Chaloner Road. It was originally known as the Sewell Memorial Mission and began in a building opposite All Saints Church, which was built by the Rev F H Sewell, the Vicar, during 1839 - 53 and 1857- 62. When he became vicar in 1839 he found the parish church in a ruinous state and devoted his energy and fortune to its welfare and restoration. He built the Mission Room and St John’s Parish School opposite and both were carried on for some years. After his death in 1862 the scholars were moved to the Reading Room in Lewes Road and Mrs Sewell offered the Mission House and School to All Saints Church Council, but the offer was refused and the Country Towns Mission acquired the property.

The early work began through a Miss Mary Trevatt initially amongst girls and women, then developing into an adult Gospel Service. She was responsible for the growth of the work between 1866 - 1911. During that time many of the preachers were supplied by the London City Mission who in 1911 were asked to supply a full time Pastor, but they declined the invitation on the grounds that their work should be confined to the city of London. The Country Towns Mission, a section of the work of the Christian Colportage Association, was then approached with a similar request and as a result in that year Pastor Ellems was appointed.

After a ministry of 17 years Pastor Ellems was succeeded by Pastor Pannell. Since then, for shorter or longer periods, by a further ten men. In the year 1937 the original building at the top of the High Street was sold by the Country Towns Mission to All Saints and as a result the present building was erected in 1939 in Chaloner Road. An annex was added in 1953, but later replaced in 1976 by the existing hall with its kitchen and toilets. In the early 1970’s, during Pastor Marsh’s ministry, it was decided to change the name of the Mission to the “Lindfleld Evangelical Free Church” and became officially registered as such in 1980, after the arrival of Pastor Helyar in 1979, when the Country Towns Mission relinquished their oversight of the work. Some nine Christian men, the majority members of the church, became Trustees.

During 1981 a piece of land at the rear of the church was purchased and developed into the present car park. The total cost of this project came through gifts of members and friends together with interest-free loans, and the whole project completed by November 1982. Later in 1984 a baptistry was installed and the platform and pulpit area redesigned to accommodate it. Through the succeeding years many have been baptised not only from this church but from the two other churches in Lindfield and others in Haywards Heath.

Before Pastor Helyar retired in July 1990 a much needed vestry was built at the side of the building which was completed in the June of that year. In 1992 the church became affiliated to the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC) and in the November Rev Phillip Wright was inducted as the Pastor. In 1996 the transfer of the Trusteeship to FIEC Ltd. was completed, also a Portacabin was installed in the Manse garden, next to the church, to give extra accommodation for the youth work. In September 2003 Trevor Lewis was inducted as our Pastor. Trevor moved to pastures new in 2008. In August 2011 we celebrated our 150th anniversary with an exhibition of church history and 'Songs of Praise' led by Phil Wright with contributions from Ewart Helyar and Trevor Lewis. In November 2013 we welcomed our new Pastor, Mervyn Weeks along with his wife Alison.

1911 - 28 Arthur Ellems 1946 - 60 Thomas H Makepeace
1929 - 31 E Pannell  1960 - 68 Arthur S Mitson
1932 - 35 D Thomas 1969 - 79 Gilbert Marsh
1935 - 38 W Berry 1979 - 90 Ewart F Helyar
1938 - 40 J Lea  1992 - 98 Phillip M Wright
1940 - 46 A J Thorn 2003 - 08    Trevor Lewis 
2013.           Mervyn Weeks

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