Thirty-two commemorative stones were laid that day.
Brunswick Methodist Circuit had long held an ambition to build a church in the Longbenton area, to cater for the religious and pastoral needs of the large number of new residents. In July 1955 the site for the Longbenton Church was pegged out and the foundations started. It was being built behind the new school on the left-hand side of Benton Lane coming from Newcastle, at a cost of approximately £15,000.
Some of this money was raised by local church-goers ‘buying a brick’ as their contribution towards the costs. On the day they were able to lay their brick on top of the foundations, and some people are still able today to point out where theirs was laid.
The stone laying ceremony took place on 17th September 1955. Local people remember that the day itself was ‘unpromising’ with half a gale blowing and a cloudy sky. However, the spirits of the substantial crowd were high as they saw the realisation of a long-held dream.
The service was conducted by Rev’d Roland Cox, the Superintendent Minister and the President of the Methodist Conference, Rev’d Dr Leslie D Weatherhead was an honoured guest. Some of the people who were there on that day recall that Dr Weatherhead had arrived only just in time, having travelled to Newcastle for the event. He hastily had to change into clerical garb in a wooden shed nearby, with only minutes to spare before addressing the gathering.
Thirty-two commemorative stones were laid, including those representing the Church Trustees, Longbenton Sunday School and Longbenton Women’s Fellowship. It was anticipated that the new church would be opened in March 1956, subject to the builders progress.