According to the minutes of the Building Committee of the New Church at Gorseinon held on Thursday 13th April, 1911, the tender for £7,500 was accepted and the contract signed. Work could now commence on the site given by the owners of the Cameron Estate.
Of course, the history of the Church in Gorseinon does not begin here; one needs to go back to a meeting held at the Station Inn, Gorseinon on the 19th November, 1881, when it was decided a new church be built to accommodate 250. A notice duly appeared in the "Cambrian", "Western Mail" and "The South Wales Daily News" offering a Premium of £5 for the most plans for a church at a cost not exceeding £1,000. The plans of a Mr. E. Bath were accepted and the church built, with the exception of the Tower and Chancel Windows, which were gifts, for the sum of £976.17.5. With the influx of people it soon became evident that another church was necessary, so we come to 13th April 1911 and the decision to build St Catherine's.
St Catherine's Church was consecrated and dedicated by the Lord Bishop of St David's.
A notice announcing the opening of the Church appeared in the "Evening Post" for one week advising people of the services to be held on 29th May 1913 and that those who desired it, luncheon tickets would be available at 2/6 each, and that cheap day rail fare would be available from the Swansea Victoria Station. On the day of dedication it was pouring with rain, but this did not deter crowds from flocking to Gorseinon, the scene of riots on the previous Saturday and an accident to a local policeman on the evening before, when he crashed into the window of Temple Fashion on coming down the hill close to the church. The first vicar was Rev. R. W. Jones, who left the parish in 1918 to become a chaplain to the Forces. When he returned from the forces he became the Archdeacon of Llandaff and Suffragan Bishop of Llandaff. The second vicar appointed was Canon W. J. Thomas who came in 1919. Until his appointment the stipend of Rev. D. A. Jones (curate) was increased to £180 during the vacancy, and the organist of Holy Trinity Church was paid £1 per annum, a gift from a member.
At a general meeting of the congregations of St Catherine's and Holy Trinity held at the Mission Room in February, 1920 it was unanimously agreed that a new organ was urgently needed at St Catherine's, at a cost estimated at £2,000. In may 1922. it was decided to place an order for the organ with Messrs Nicholson and Co., Worcester at a cost of £2,500. On Thursday 21st June 1923, the organ was dedicated by the Bishop of St David's, his last official work within the boundary of what had now become the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon. An organ recital was given after the service by Mr. Cyril Baynham, Organist of St Mary's, Swansea. In the same year as it was decided that a new organ was required, the trees and turf we now see around the church were planted, but it was not until January 1921, that an Alter Guild was formed for the placing of flowers on the alter by individuals once a year, whilst in February the price of the Parish Magazine was raised to 2d. The year 1922 saw the creation of the Sunday School Association at a meeting held on the 2nd March at St. Catherine's Mission Hall. The month of May, saw the placing of the three beautiful Stained Windows in the Baptistry and a pair of Standard Candlesticks in the Sanctuary. At the end of the year, the Memorial Celtic Cross in the grounds of St Catherine's was unveiled and dedicated, (Claimed then to be the biggest in Wales).
In succeeding years the beauty of the church was further enhanced by the installation of the Chancel Screen, Reredos and a Processional Cross. In 1925 a grant was given for a second Curate and in 1929 the foundations were laid for the church hall. The cost of the hall was approximately £9,000, only £2000 less than the cost of building the Church sixteen years earlier. The church hall was dedicated in April 1931 and to avoid confusion between the church halls, the old St. Catherine's mission hall became known as Holy Trinity Hall and the new hall, St. Catherine's Church Hall.
Secular activities were not entirely ignored in the parish for in October and November, 1929, troops of Scouts and Guides were formed, the Scouts being presented with a set of Bugles and Drums the following year. A group of Church Lads was formed in 1931, whilst 1932 saw the formation of a Church Bowls team, the members of which were largely responsible for raising money to purchase the tarmac which formed the paths around the church: they were also responsible for preparing the ground for it.
￼￼The first of the Flitch Trials, organised by the Bowls Team, was held in November 1933. This was a local representation of a custom which originated in Little Dunmow, Essex, in the early part of the 13th century. A flitch of bacon was given to the couple who could best prove that they had spent the first year and a day of married life in perfect harmony, and never at any moment regretted the choice they had made. An hilarious evening was had by all who took part.
￼￼Mentioning by-gone ages, a custom of olden days are revived in the parish during March 1935, namely Mothering Sunday, the day when children bring presents to their mothers to show their love. Happily this custom is still with us and is observed by a Family Service in St. Catherine's on the appropriate day. With mothers in mind, it is interesting to note that the Mothers' Union was started in the parish in 1936. They have worked on behalf of the church ever since, and contributed considerably towards its fabric.
￼￼The war years saw many changes and the church in Gorseinon was not by-passed by these. In August 1940, the St. Catherine's Church Hall was taken over to be used as an Annexe for Gorseinon Hospital. with the increased dangers of damage to buildings during wartime, the value of the church property was re-assessed and St. Catherine's furnishings were insured for £2,700, the organ for £2,500 and the bells for £550. By comparison today the building, furniture, stained windows, bells and organ are insured for an amount in excess of £1,831,000. The members of the church did not shirk their responsibilities during the war either. At one time there were no fewer than 139 members of the congregation serving in the forces. Their return with the cessation of hostilities was recognised by a celebration tea and a gift to each of £3.
￼￼In December 1961, the Garden of Rest was dedicated by the Bishop. This additional amenity has meant that those who wished could rest the ashes of their loved ones in the shadow of the church.
During the last twenty years, changes have taken place in the parish. The Church of Holy Trinity has been closed and sold, but the name has not been lost. The lady Chapel in St. Catherine's was dedicated Holy Trinity Chapel and services in Welsh continue in the parish. The stained glass windows, a feature of Holy Trinity Church, has been preserved for posterity. The Swansea School of Art removed them and framed them for storage and exhibition.
Activities within the parish have continued apace, still having the same aim, the furtherance of the Christian massage. Church services have been recorded for use on the Commercial Radio Station, Swansea Sound, and the BBC, a Flower, Music and Drama Festival is establishing itself in our calendar, harvest fruits have been auctioned and the monies distributed to charity. Fund raising activities for Christian Mission work have gone from strength to strength. At the same time, the material and spiritual body of the parish has been put under the spotlight and it is with a measure of satisfaction that one can report that where there has been need, there has always been a ready response to meet the challenge. We greatly appreciate the close co-operation with the other Christian churches in the area.
The church has received many material gifts, and one in particular is used every time there is a service in church, namely the Sound Reproduction System dedicated to the late Mr. Norman Thomas, Church warden at St. Catherine's, who devoted so many years of his life to Church work. There are others who have given many years of service to the church in the parish, and it is hoped that their example will be a goal that others will wish to follow.