• Brian Selby explains the origins of Community House, Newport

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Brian explains his position as an elder in Community House and the history of the Church, which has been on that site since 1900. Originally called Corporation Road Forward Movement Hall, with a congregation that went from 2000 strong in the 1900’s, to 120 in the 1950’s and to just 5 members today. He also mentions the involvement of Roderick Jones who was known as Uncle Roddy.

He discussed the structural issues which started in 1908, when the back of the church needed to be secured to the front. This was all made worse in the 1950s when the lorries passed the church on the way to the construction site of Llanwern Steel Works. This exacerbated the original cracks and caused further damage as there were no foundations.

The church had to decide what to do with the building; demolish and rebuild, cut the building in half to just leave the bottom of the building or buttress the walls. The decision was made to demolish the old building but the decision about what to do afterwards came from discussions with church members – during the period after the demolition, house groups were formed.

This arose from church members not having a place to meet and worship. Within house groups, to help make the decision about what to do next, the Church members carried out lots of studies including looking at report studies from the World Council of Churches. They wondered,

“What on earth is the church for”?

One report said “ the Church is for others”
and they decided the building needed to be more of a community building.

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