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The Tab family has been meeting in Lancing in some shape or form for 90 years now. The work began in 1927 through the creative faithfulness of Louise Wilson, and the work actively continues today.
The Tab has occupied three buildings over the years. It started in a house on the Lower Brighton Road, had a temporary home by the Railway Station in Lancing before settling in North Road in the existing building. This building has gone through many changes over the years. The common link is the people, a group of people who share a living relationship with Jesus, and want to make the good news about him known in this village and beyond.
In the early years of the century, Lancing with its flint walls and ancient Norman church, presented a place of quiet beauty. An aerial picture would have shown the distinctive north and south villages nestling at the foot of the downs. A stately windmill stood sentry over the village, whilst sloping down towards the costal plains the picture resolved into one of the cornfields, glass houses and extensive orchards where the spring blossom was sight to behold.
Early days inside the Tab at the current location. The organ was installed in 1939.
This page gives a brief history of how one lady's inspiration became Lancing Tabernacle free church.
1922 Church begins in a kitchen
Lancing was the village to which an Irish lady, Miss Louise Wilson came to live; herself a member of the Church of England with allegiance firmly rooted in the evangelical tradition, she soon became concerned about the need for an evangelical witness in the village, and 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 Free Church. In order to further this vision, Miss Wilson opened part of her home, 'Sweet Briar Cottage''Sweet Briar Cottage' on the Brighton road on the Brighton road as a centre for Christian fellowship and gospel preaching.
Those who enjoyed the fellowship of those days, as young people, can remember the converted kitchen packed with worshippers. However, eventually her health compelled her to move to Hove. She was led, however, to place a substantial amount of money under the trusteeship of the Pastor and the Elders of Worthing Tabernacle.
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 great day came, Wednesday March 2nd 1927, when the first Tabernacle, erected on a site in North Road close to the railway station, was officially opened. Unfortunately Miss Wilson was not well enough to be present and was called into the presence of her Lord on 10th July 1930.
1937 Another new church building
There continued a period of growth and consolidation and by 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 went ahead for the building of the present Church, the dedication of which took place on Wednesday, August 18th, 1937. The old church building as taken down and re-erected at Fittleworth and is still being used for the work of God there.
Opening Day - From the Argus archives