East - West Café Church - Nov14

Monday, 10 November, 2014

John Beales explains how East Worthing Café Church became East - West Café Church after setting up another Sussex 'home'.

East Worthing Café Church started five years ago and lots of people would turn up to our fun days, and really enjoy them, but we didn't manage to 'convert' that interest into anything longer-term for those in the immediate area.

We reviewed what was happening. The café church was attracting people, including interested Christians, from all sorts of places but the locals – the ones we wanted to reach - just didn't come. Most of those at our church were coming in from central and west Worthing.

As a result, we had been thinking for some while how the work in East Worthing was going to be sustained when my wife, Chris, and I moved from the area to nearby Ferring.

East West Café Church - leadersGatherings continue in East Worthing Community Centre because we felt it was important to keep something going there but it was also important to move on and begin to ask God what he might want of us in our new context.

We decided not to ditch East Worthing Cafe Church completely but instead to change the 'umbrella' name to East - West Café Church so that we could have gatherings in both East Worthing and Ferring (to the west).

For many years we have had the intention of coming west of Worthing and now that has become a reality in our new Café Church which meets on the second Sunday of the month from 3.30pm to 5.30pm at Glebelands Centre, Ferring.

First of all, I met with the vicar at Ferring's parish church, St Andrew's, to tell him what we were thinking of and praying about and he was very supportive of something starting in a café style, saying that he would like to work with us on it. He immediately offered us the chance to put an article in their parish magazine; this has 700 subscribers which meant we had a promotional outlet right from the start. I also talked to the local Baptist minister because it was very important to me to be a person of peace and be seen to be open about what we were doing.

East West Café Church - centre

The Glebelands Centre is right next door to the Baptist Church so I wanted to make it clear that this isn't about poaching from any one congregation; it's about adding to what those churches are already providing in the village and working alongside them to reach the people we can find it difficult to reach. I tell the churches that I just want people to find Jesus and it's up to him where those people go on to worship; they may decide to stay with us, they may not. And that's fine.

We launched the Café Church in October with the format we used at East Worthing: it's a time of teaching, worship and prayer – all presented in a very informal, interactive way with videos and talks and songs and illusions. We also always have a light tea afterwards with lots of cake. It's very relational and we are trying to encourage people to be relational with each other and with Jesus. Hopefully, as things move on, we are going to be a more 'liquid' church and start different groups during the week. We have already got an established Tuesday evening group at East Worthing with about 18 people coming to that. Many of them are established Christians and three people who have become Christians at East Worthing but don't necessarily live there. That's where we do in-depth discipleship and Bible study.

Now we're hoping to have a Wednesday group (also in the evening), a daytime group and an art group. There are many community links in Ferring so I'm hopeful there will be greater opportunity to reach people who don't yet know Christ or those who do know him but have ditched church.

East West Café Church - cake and sconesLooking ahead as to how these Café Churches could be further resourced and sustained, we are in the process of discussing how we might be made an associate of the Elim Church. I had been Elim trained and was previously an elder at Elim Christian Fellowship in Worthing.

At the Café Churches, I want to encourage anybody and everybody on in their journey with Christ because I believe in the priesthood of all believers. When we look at how we can complement the ministries of those already at work in Ferring, we're only going to try and slot in where we have the giftings. We don't want to reinvent the wheel; we just want us all to go on the journey together.

This story is an update to:


The first couple of years meeting at East Worthing Community Centre sometimes drew a lot of people, but then numbers started to drop. There was a core group of people who identified with the command to go into all the world and preach the gospel, who came week in and week out.
Now there are even more opportunities to reach another community right on John and Christine's doorstep. I have known them as a couple since the days when John was an elder at a local Elim congregation, and I have remained in contact with them now they are concentrating their efforts in the west part of the town of Worthing.

I would certainly recommend you come and visit the Meeting at The Glebelands and experience it first hand for it is a place where one can come and meet friendly people who always give you a warm Welcome. It is a warm and relaxed group of people who want to know more about God and it is done with love and enthusiasm.Many ways we share what we believe sometimes through short DVD clips,Puppets, Drama and a talk. People have a chance to share a testimony and their is worship too but always in a relaxed friendly atmosphere it is for all ages and after we have a spot of tea and fellowship chatting and getting to know each other a most enjoyable time is had. So please feel free to visit we are meeting this Sunday 8th March between 3.30pm until 5.30pm. Come along and meet us we would enjoy your company

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
We use spam protection. View privacy policy.