In the early years of the century, an aerial picture of Lancing would have shown the distinctive north and south villages nestling at the foot of the downs. There would have been cornfields, glasshouses and extensive orchards. The early 1930s saw the development of the railway carriage works, resulting in a massive expansion of housing in the village changing the character of the area to something that we would recognise today. Lancing Tabernacle has stood on it town centre site since 1937, but its origins go back around 15 years earlier to much humbler beginnings.
This page gives a brief history of how one lady's inspiration became Lancing Tabernacle Evangelical Free Church.
1922 Church begins in a kitchen
Miss Louise Wilson came to live in Lancing in the early 1920s. She was a member of the Church of England with allegiance firmly rooted in the evangelical tradition, and soon became concerned about the need for an evangelical witness in the village. She was sometimes seen giving a practical demonstration of this concern by distributing Christian literature to the employees of the Railway Carriage Works as they left by the main gate.
This courageous lady proved to be God's instrument in bringing together a fellowship of local minded believers, which eventually became Lancing Tabernacle. In order to further this vision, Miss Wilson opened part of her home, ''Sweet Briar Cottage' on the Brighton Road as a centre for Christian fellowship and gospel preaching.
Those who enjoyed the fellowship of those days remember the converted kitchen packed with worshippers. Miss Wilson was led to place a substantial amount of money under the trusteeship of the Pastor and the Elders of Worthing Tabernacle, as her health compelled her to move to Hove. She was was called into the presence of her Lord on 10th July 1930.
1927 A new church building
Challenged by the situation and inspired by their experience of God's faithfulness in the past, the members worked and prayed together until the official opening of the first Tabernacle building, erected on a site in North Road close to the railway station, on Wednesday March 2nd 1927.
1937 Another new church building
After a period of growth and consolidation 1936 it was becoming evident that the expanding population and the 'temporary' nature of the present building, called for a further step forward and plans were made for the building of the present Church, the dedication of which took place on Wednesday, August 18th, 1937. The old church building was taken down and re-erected at Fittleworth where it was used until very recently as the village chapel.
Opening Day - From the Argus archives
Early days inside the Tab at the current location. The organ was installed in 1939.
Church tea - 19 April 1950
Claud Trigger was Pastor of Lancing Tab from 1955-1966. When he retired from the ministry he moved back to Lancing and joined the church as a member. In the middle 1990s he was recalled to the Eldership to help the church at that time. In later life he was diagnosed with cancer and had his larynx removed, subsequently becoming well known at the church for his use of an artificial voice. He was known for his pastoral heart, as well as his faithful Bible preaching.
Below you can listen to a couple of Claud's sermons preached on the 1st December 1985.