At 7pm on Thursday 23rd March 2023, seven of us met in the building that was the first  real ‘home’ of what was named 100 years previously, Downs Free Church. The purpose was to mark the centenary of our church in Woodingdean, in the place where it all began – at least for Downs Church.

The weather forecast had predicted torrential rain and strong winds and this had kept many of our church family away. However the poignancy of the occasion was, I think, shared by the few of us present.

To set the scene, the building is now utilised as a garage which will indicate to you the space and surroundings in which we found ourselves. Chris Yeatman, the present owner, had very kindly strategically placed heaters to warm us as we sat around on garden furniture. We began our time as you can imagine, by drinking tea and coffee, eating cake and chatting about our surroundings. Chris spoke of what he knew of the family members who started the Church.

It was for the occasion. That is until we started to pray. At this point it felt as if our numbers had swelled! And when we began singing “There is a Redeemer,” It felt as though the building itself was singing with us!

What I want to say and I so hope that you, dear reader understand, is that Jesus was there and the Holy Spirit wrapped us in His embrace. I never want to forget that ‘feeling’ of rightness, of continuity, of the Power of God! I pray that He, as our power source, will carry this wonderful church family on with His strength through the next one hundred years and into eternity with Him.   

Report by Margaret Bradford

Original photos of Downs Free Church by Chris Yeatman – with kind permission.