THE CHURCH AND THE COMMUNITY
Our chapel has always had a strong link with the local community, especially when the mines were still open.
It was in 1957 that the first Miner's Service was held. Large numbers of people gathered at the top of Caroline Street. The parade was led by the Hetton Silver Prize band followed by the two miner's banners, one from Eppleton Colliery and the other from Elemore Colliery, followed by the procession of people.
They all made their way to The Big Chapel for the service and to listen to the guest speaker. One of the most memorable services was held in 1982, when the speaker was Rt. Hon. George Thomas, M.P. who was the speaker of the House of Commons at that time. The chapel was full to capacity on that occasion, not a seat to be had, as everyone wanted to listen to the most famous Welshman of the time.
These services continued every year, but as the mines closed the interest also declined and eventually they were discontinued.
Hetton has had two local councillors made Mayors of Sunderland. The first one was Coun. Eddie Weirs in 1979 and the second was Coun. Juliana Heron in 2003. On both occasions, the inaugural service was held in our Church.
In 1995, a civic service was held in The Big Chapel to celebrate 100 years of our local Town Council.
Today in 2016, community groups continue to use the building on a regular basis.