Rescued Worthing church looks set to close for good

No green light for Cornerstone Methodist Church  in Worthing DM1517856a
No green light for Cornerstone Methodist Church in Worthing DM1517856a

A WORTHING church that was rescued from the brink 12 years ago looks set to finally close for good.

Cornerstone Methodist Church, Brighton Road, has a congregation of only 22, coupled with the need for costly repairs to the 115-year-old building.

Daphne Williams, right, and Carol Suddabywith the caf� cake selection DM1517827a

Daphne Williams, right, and Carol Suddabywith the caf� cake selection DM1517827a

The popular café there will open on Friday for the last time and the last service will be on Sunday.

The Rev James Bamber, minister for sister church Offington Park Methodist, has been covering services for about three years.

He said: “Members at Cornerstone have courageously decided to look afresh at their premises while pausing their current activities in order to listen to God and the community as to how the church can best continue to share God’s good news in the future.”

Volunteers in the café are upset about its closure, having been providing a service to the community for ten years.

Daphne Williams, who organises the rota, said many people from further afield used the café after getting off a bus at the stop outside.

The church was previously named Steyne Gardens Methodist Church, which nearly closed in 2003.

“The church council then voted to carry on,” explained Daphne. “Now, I have been told the locks will be changed on August 31. That is what upsets me the most. I have been going there for 50 years.”

The loss of the café has also hit her hard, as she has been involved with it for about eight years ago and makes the majority of the cakes.

Her husband, David, has Parkinson’s Disease and the cake making is a kind of therapy for him.

“It really helps him. He will make the shortbread and I will tap it, he starts the rock cakes off and I finish them.

“It has been part of our lives for so long and it means a lot to us. It is a bit difficult really. I do need someone to make cakes for.

“We have given lots of money to various charities over the years as well. If anybody needs somebody to make cakes, we are more than willing.”

When it came to the church council vote to close, Daphne said she abstained.

“Everybody had made up their minds to stop but I could not do that,” she explained.

While Cornerstone’s numbers have fallen, the Broadwater church is thriving and has a congregation of around 450 people.

Other groups which use the Cornerstone building have had to find new homes. These include Worthing Foodbank, which will be using Worthing Tabernacle instead, and Cards for Good Causes, which will be going to the St Paul’s Centre, plus keep fit and dance groups.

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