Goring Free Church is one of the remaining chapels of the 200 or more founded by Lady Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, in the late 18th Century. She was one of the outstanding leaders of the Evangelical Revival, alongside the Wesleys and George Whitefield.
A church in Goring was first registered in 1788, but the chapel building, which is now the hall, was only opened in 1793 at which time it became part of the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion. Right from its foundation, it has sought to maintain an evangelical witness within its immediate vicinity, with its ministers at times having oversight of non-conformist chapels within South Stoke and Basildon. In order to mark its centenary a new church building was constructed in 1893, in which the present congregation still meets.
Children and families have always constituted an important part of the life and work within the Church (see Children & Youth) . During the 19th Century, when the established church was fairly antagonistic towards the non-conformists, a school for teaching children that were not accommodated within the Church of England school was initiated and run by the Free Church. This continued until relations between the established and non-conformist churches were easier and all pupils were accommodated within the Church of England school.
Whilst times and situations have changed considerably over the past 200 years, Goring Free Church remains committed to playing its part in the commission that Jesus Christ gave to those first believers to ‘go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ (Matthew 28:19).