Welcome To Our Official Church Website

Our prayer is that you would be blessed and strengthened by the power of Jesus Christ and that you will live a life of abundance in fellowship, joy and liberty. Shoreham Free Church is here for you. It is not just a church. It is also a fellowship of believers coming together to declare the glory of the Lord and celebrate Jesus as King. We study the Word, practice what we learn and in the process grow together. May God richly bless you!

 

Main Services on Sundays 

Starting around 10.30 am and other events:-

 
 

SUNDAY 3rd January 10.30am

Praise and Worship Communion Service with Pat Marshall

 
SUNDAY 10th January 10.30am
 
Start the New Year with the Biggest Bank!
 
 Praise & Worship Service with Julie Andrews
 

SUNDAY 17th January 10.30am

Praise and Worship Service with Dave and Phyl Sweetman

      SUNDAY 24th January 10.30am

Praise and Worship Service with Paul Young from Off the Fence

SUNDAY 31st January 10.30am

Praise and Worship Service with Roger Whitmore

SUNDAY 7th February 10.30am

Praise and Worship Communion Service with Tony Thompson

SUNDAY 14th February 10.30am

Praise and Worship Service with Jonny Sweetman

SUNDAY 21st February 10.30am

Praise and Worship Service with Pat Marshall

SUNDAY 28th February 10.30am

Short Praise and Worship Service 

SUNDAY 6th March 10.30am
 

Mothering Sunday Communion Service with Wendy Young

SUNDAY 13th March 10.30am

Praise and Worship Service with Paul Young from Off the Fence

SUNDAY 20th March 10.30am

Palm Sunday Service with Dave and Phyl Sweetman

SUNDAY 27th March 10.30am

Easter Sunday Service with Jeremy Cook

 

 

History of the SLM

The Sierra Leone Mission:

 

The Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion has just 23 churches in the UK, so people are surprised to learn of a Connexion overseas – in the West African state of Sierra Leone. Sadly, in recent years Sierra Leone has been in the news for reasons other than Christian witness – such as military coups, poverty, atrocities by rebels and misuse of mineral resources.

In September 1996, a plaque was dedicated in Westminster Abbey inscribed, ‘Thomas Clarkson, a Friend of slaves.’ At 150 years after his death this was a belated recognition of the prime-mover behind the abolition of slavery. Not Wiberforce, Macaulay or Granville Sharp: Thomas Clarkson was the biggest force and he devoted his life to the cause.

Of greater significance to the Connexion in his brother John, who assisted Thomas. John Clarkson worked for the rights of Black Loyalists who were settled in Nova Scotia at the end of the American War of Independence. They had fought with the British and were promised their freedom and lands. As John Clarkson campaigned for them, he attended their services: Methodist, Baptist and Humtingdonian.

The Huntingdonians were led by John Marrant, who was converted under George Whitefield of Charleston, wounded in the American War and discharged in London. Hearing of the lack of Christian leaders in Nova Scotia he asked the Countess to arrange his ordination (Bath 1785) and ministered there.

The settlers were discontented with the lack of land, the climate and local discrimination, and John Clarkson arranged to escort a group of 1196 volunteers, one third of the black population, to a new life in Sierra Leone, where they arrived in March, 1792.

John Clarkson became the country’s first Governor, and the Huntingdonians established churches and took root. After 200 years of growth, the number of churches has risen from 12 to 18 in recent years. They are all situated in the peninsula area near to the coast.

By Kenneth B. Stone, taken from ‘Voice’, the magazine of the Connexion, December 1996, originally entitled ‘The Countess of Huntingdon’.

The Country

The Republic of Sierra Leone, a country slightly smaller than Scotland, is situated on the coast of West Africa, less than ten degrees north of the equator. It was given its name by the Portuguese explorer, Pedro da Cintra, possibly because he thought thunderstorms over the mountainous peninsula on which Freetown, the capital city, now stands, sounded like the roar of a lion. By 1787 the surrounding area had come under the control of the Sierra Leone Company, the first of several British administrations. The country later achieved independence in 1961, and became a Republic ten years later.

Sierra Leone’s terrain varies from the mangrove estuaries on the coast, to a wide belt of lowland stretching inland to a central, forested area that climbs to a highland plateau in the north and east. There are two fairly distinct seasons; the dry being from November to April, and the wet from May to October.

The population of Sierra Leone is estimated to be over 4 million. This includes more than 17 identifiable groups; the most numerous being the Mende and the Temne.

Creole people, the descendants of freed or escaped slaves from North America and the Caribbean, are fewer in number but the language they developed, ‘Krio’, is now understood throughout the country. English, however, is the official national language. Most people follow traditional African religions, often combining them with Islam, which is the largest religious group, or Christianity.

Sierra Leone is a country with valuable raw materials – diamonds, gold and rutile (titanium ore) – excellent hard wood forests and a potentially wealthy agricultural sector. Although Sierra Leone is exposed to some environmental excesses, the country is thankfully not prone to the devastating droughts and famines experienced in other parts of Africa. Despite all this, there is desperate poverty throughout the country, as a result of depressed commodity prices, smuggling, corruption and poor economic management. In the 1990’s, Sierra Leone sank to bottom of the 174 countries ranked in the United Nations Human Development Index. The lack of government finance has resulted in poor health care, education and agricultural support services throughout the country. In the early 1990’s, the civil war in neighbouring Liberia added to the strains imposed on the already devastated economy. In April 1992 a coup was followed by nearly four years of military rule, during which time fighting spread to most parts of the country and over a million people became displaced from their homes. In early 1996 a civilian government was elected, but was overthrown in May 1997. ECOMOG peace keeping troops forced the junta out of Freetown in February 1998, but atrocities continued as the rebels terrorised the population and the country plunged into even worse chaos and suffering.

The country’s infrastructure is very poor. The electricity supply in the capital city has been erratic. The roads are rutted and often impassable in the rainy season. Spares for vehicles are very expensive and usually difficult to obtain. Public transport is very limited, so the most common way to travel is by buying lifts on lorries and vans, although in the main towns shared taxis and ‘poda-poda’s’ (overcrowded minibuses) are also available. Education and health care facilities are extremely limited. The country has by far the highest infant mortality rate in the world, and one of the lowest adult literacy rates (less than 30%). It is estimated that only 20% of the rural population has access to health services, and over 60% of the people do not have access to a safe water supply.

 

 

 

SIERRA LEONE

U.K.

Population

4.4 million

56.7 million

Estimated population year 2000

5 million

57 million

Population growth rate

2.6%

0.1%

Life expectancy at birth

39 years

76.2 years

Infant mortality under 1 year

166

9

(deaths per 1,000 live births)

 

 

Children under 5 mortality

284

11

(deaths per 1,000 live births)

 

 

Adult literacy

28.7%

99%

Real GDP per capita

$880

$17,160

 

The Sierra Leone Mission (S.L M.) is administered and supported by the churches of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion in England and other interested friends, Its aim is to assist in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Sierra Leone, and to help enrich the worship and fellowship of believers there. Most of this work is done through the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion, Sierra Leone.

 

 

The Countess of Huntingdon, Lady Selina Shirley, was part of the 18th Century Evangelical Revival which gave birth to Methodism, and giving up her entire fortune she raised money to pay for ministers to preach the gospel, mainly in England and Wales. She also sent ministers to the United States where they came into contact with Negro slaves, who were converted to Christianity, and after helping the British fight in the American War of Independence, were promised their freedom. After an unsuccessful attempt at settling them in cold, inhospitable Nova Scotia, the British Government agreed to give them passage to West Africa, where some 1196 of them landed in what is now Freetown, on March 28th 1792. About half of them were ‘Huntingdonians’ and they kept the name of the church to which the ministers who had preached to them belonged. The English church was totally unaware of their existence for some years. Eventually a link was established, with the formation of the Sierra Leone Mission, and has been maintained in various ways ever since. The Huntingdon Churches in Sierra Leone celebrated their bicentenary in 1992 with a procession through the streets of Freetown followed by a rally and many other celebrations.

The war has hampered the Connexion’s plans at outreach into the largely Muslim dominated country further east, but with the return of stability to the country, attempts can recommence.

Schools

The government is unable to provide sufficient schools, so many village communities rely on outside agencies to assist. The Huntingdon Connexion in Sierra Leone operates some seven primary and one secondary school on the Freetown peninsula, with plans for expansion into the interior of the country dependent on cessation of the rebel war in the ‘provinces. The S.LM. helps with the primary schools, providing tome materials, and assisting with the payment of many of the teachers’ salaries. A number of individuals or churches and schools in the U.K. sponsor these teachers. Government salary scales dictate that a typical teachers salary at current rates of exchange is around £25 per month. Some church members in the U.K. have also taken a special interest in helping the Milton Margai School for the Blind, in Lumley, a suburb of Freetown, where some sixty blind children were living in extremely poor conditions.

Buildings

Buildings in Sierra Leone require constant attention due to the climate. The people are poor and many are unemployed, which means that they have difficulty in finding the money to pay for building work, so the S.L.M. has assisted in funding a number of improvements to the churches and schools. The S.L.M. is also concerned to assist with housing for the Ministers and has provided finance to construct one Manse with plans already in hand for others.

Students

The importance of good Biblical teaching in the churches cannot be overemphasised, and the U.K. supports a number of students in theological training, at Sierra Leone Bible College in Jui, or at Theological Hall in Freetown. This includes payment of fees and assistance towards stationery and books.

Shipments

From time to time the S.L.M. arranges shipments of items which have included Bibles, hymn books, musical instruments (including guitars, keyboards and harmoniums), generators, clothing, school books and stationery, sewing machines, typewriters and duplicators.

Other local evangelical organisations

The S.L.M. also gives some support to other evangelical organisations in Sierra Leone, including Scripture Union, the CLC Bookshop in Freetown, and the Evangelical Fellowship of Sierra Leone (EFSL).