The first Congregational Chapel in Sutton was established in Marshall’s Road just off the High Street in 1799. Sixty years later a much more substantial building was opened in Benhill Street (now Benhill Avenue). Growth in the population in Sutton in the next two decades (from 3,000 to 10,000) led to the need for larger premises and in 1883 a “temporary” iron building was erected in Sutton Court Road. This was later known as the Lecture Hall, after a new stone church was built in 1889-90 on the same site but fronting onto Carshalton Road. The site was next door to Sutton Police Station and it was in this church that many of our present URC members worshipped, had leadership roles or experienced their Christian upbringing. Both minister and congregation greatly welcomed the church’s incorporation into the United Reformed Church on its inauguration in October 1972.
Our history in detail
The first Wesleyan Church in Sutton was in Benhill Avenue and was opened in 1867. This was replaced by a new Church in Carshalton Road which was severely damaged by fire in 1906 and in the same year the stone-laying of the present building in Cheam Road took place. The church was opened on October 2nd 1907 and was renamed Trinity Methodist Church following Methodist Union in 1932. The attractive Grade 2 Listed Building is a landmark in the town and over the years appeals, particularly at the Golden and Diamond Jubilees and at the Centenary, have paid for renovation.
The Congregational Church in Carshalton Road 1890 - 1975
The Wesleyan Church in Carshalton Road
Methodist and United Reformed Together
In 1971 the four churches in central Sutton, St. Nicholas’ Parish Church, Sutton Baptist Church, Trinity Methodist Church and Sutton Congregational Church signed a covenant with the aim of sharing life and buildings by Easter 1980. The coming together of the Methodist and URC congregations was seen as the first step in this process. The present church now called Trinity Church Sutton, United Reformed/Methodist, dates from Easter 1973 when the Carshalton Road premises were closed and the land sold. Partly financed by this sale several major and minor changes have taken place to Trinity’s buildings since 1973, including the redesign of the rear part of the premises prior to the opening of the Oasis café in 1991, the establishment of a coffee area at the back of the church and a major renovation of the organ in 1993. Renovation of the exterior and interior fabric of the church was one of many projects celebrating the centenary in 2007-8.
The story of a Church and its people
We are fortunate to have a very readable book which tells our story. Following extensive research, based on all the available historical records, Colin Howard charts the birth, growth, progress and continual renewal of the remarkable building and community which is Trinity Church, from its foundation to by Wesleyan Methodists in 1907 to its present-day role in the life of Sutton. With his roots in both Methodism and Congregationalism, the author is well placed to write about what since 1973 has been a shared United Reformed and Methodist church, during which time he has himself been at the heart of its life and leadership.
The book can be purchased online here, the price is now £8 if collected from Trinity or £9.50 if posted (within the UK). Your details provided here will be used only to progress your order.
Trinity Church (United Reformed/Methodist) is a Local Ecumenical Partnership under the auspices of Churches Together in South London. In order to comply with the requirements the Charity Commissioners a new Constitution was drawn up in 2010 approved by both demoninations. As a consequence, the Minister and Deacons are Trustees of the Charity known as Trinity Church, Sutton.
Our constitution brings together the roles of Methodist Stewards with URC Elders under the title of Deacons, of whom there are ten elected by Church Meeting. Church Links, drawn from a wider field than just Deacons share the pastoral care of the congregation.
The church actively maintains its denominational links. On the URC side this means membership of the Southern Synod and the South London Synod Area, the latter consisting of 58 churches within the Greater London Area South of the Thames.
The Sutton Methodist Circuit stretches eight miles from Bandon Hill in the east to Epsom in the west and about six miles from Cheam in the North to Great Tattenhams in the South.
There are ten churches in the circuit, three of which are involved in Local Ecumenical Projects:-
St Johns Belmont, a united congregation of Anglicans and Methodists;
St Marks, again a united congregation of Anglicans and Methodists, at Tattenham Corner, Epsom; and
ourselves, Trinity URC/Methodist, which is also in a covenant relationship with St Nicholas Parish Church and Sutton Baptist Church as Churches Uniting in Central Sutton (CUCS). A successful ecumenical partnership has been established which includes united worship, fellowship and close co-operation between the clergy and congregations co-ordinated through the CUCS Ecumenical Church Council.