Church History - From Humble Beginnings

The church was established in the tennis pavilion in Telscombe Cliffs and formally opened on 7th January 1931.  It was soon considered imperative to have a new church built as the tennis pavilion was too small (and needed for other purposes!) and there had never been a church in the immediate vicinity to cater for the spiritual needs of the local residents. 

Those in charge of the new church project were the Reverend Pitt Bonarjee, minister of Countess of Huntingdon’s Church, North Street Brighton and Mr Claud Dover and his wife.  The Dovers were a guiding light in the beginnings of the church after they came to live in Telscombe Cliffs when they returned from India where he was an engineer involved in building bridges and roads, and his wife had been a missionary. 

Costs and Donations

There was great support from local residents and Mr Edgerton a local builder. The church was built on four plots of land in a field that was part of the Telscombe Tye estate at a cost of £40 per plot.  The first brick was laid by 4 year old Dorothy Jupp, daughter of one of the builders.   It was completed in four months at a total cost of £458, and named Telscombe Cliffs Union Church.  The dedication service was held on Saturday 2nd May 1931. Tea was served at the Windmill Café, (now the Tavern at Telscombe Cliffs), price 1/- per person.  The first hymn at the dedication was “The Church’s One Foundation” and heartily sung by the members of the congregation, some from as far away as Eastbourne.  The Rev. Pitt Bonnarjee announced that the collection would be for the church building fund. The church was built solely by donations from local residents.

Notable Donations

The list is long but some examples are:

The Organ cost £9.00!

Local Community

For many years there was a thriving Sunday school, Boys Brigade and Girls Brigade.  The Sunday School was run for 30 years by Mr Leslie Dorn, who was also active in the Boys Brigade and a very valued member of the Eldership.  He died only a few years ago at the age of 101.

The original church building was much smaller than the one that exists now which has been extended to include a larger church and the addition of a kitchen and hall at the back.

In 1944/45 Telscombe Cliffs Church became affiliated to the Congregational Union with close ties to the church in Queens Square Brighton.  Later still it became part of the United Reformed Church.  Recently the members of the church decided that Telscombe Cliffs Community Church is a more appropriate name and reflected how they wanted the church to be part of the local community.