all about All Saints Church
St Christopher's church sits by the A251 Faversham Road at the apex of the village green. It was once a hall house and still retains many period features. It became the village school, but after the second world war was used for worship when All Saints was declared unsafe. Nowadays it is the focus for Sunday worship from October to May, but is open every day at present from 10am until 4pm for private prayer.
All Saints is the parish church of Boughton Aluph and Eastwell, a village on the northern outskirts of Ashford in Kent. The parish has three churches in all: All Saints in Church Lane just off the A28 Ashford to Canterbury Road, St Christopher's by the Village Green at Boughton Lees (A251) and the ruined St Mary's by the lake in Eastwell Park. We are part of the United Wye Benefice, a grouping of eight churches including Wye, Hinxhill and Brook "down the hill" and the "upon the hill" group of Hastingleigh, Elmsted, Waltham and Petham in the Kentish Downs. All Saints is used for regular worship from late May to early October save for the last two weekends in June, and St Christopher's at other times. Services take place at 9.30am each Sunday: Holy Communion on the first, second and fourth Sundays, and Morning Prayer on the third. On fifth Sundays there is a shared benefice service at one of the eight churches.
The church sits on the Winchester to Canterbury Pilgrims' Way and has been visited by groups of pilgrims from medieval times to the present day. It boasts some fine architecture and a possibly unique pilgrims' porch with tudor fireplace, and not surprisingly is listed Grade 1 (more detail here). However, it was almost destroyed by a stray fire bomb in the last war and the forced sale of the bells and pews to finance urgent restoration work has resulted in a large flexible space that is used nowadays for many different functions, the most important of which being the annual Stour Music Festival, the Five Church Walk and, more recently, the Wye Charity Ball in support of local charities. More and more it is also being used as a magical spot for wedding receptions (meal and dance) after the wedding ceremony. See pics here.
During these COVID-19 times it is difficult to manage opening times other than on Sundays but you may be able to request a key from Mrs Rita Hawes on 01233 627117. For some views of the interior see below.
At least we missed this!
Saint Christopher's church
It is some months since we wrote our notes but we are happy to share with you what has been going on in our two churches.
As the lock-down approached we planned how our churches could safely be open for several hours each day. A rota using volunteers was set up and worked well for a bit, but once we started using All Saints again we had to close the building for 72 hours both before and after services, so that was that! But St Christopher’s remained open, receiving several visitors, and we turned to making All Saints, our summer church, safe for services. That meant spreading out the chairs and providing hand gel, notebook for names, and notices to control movement in the building. We were ready to hold our 9.30 am Sunday Services as soon as permission was given! No singing but we did have some organ music.
Since then we have welcomed Ravi, Linda and Paul and Maureen Burnham, and Phil Brown to lead our services, and as Churchwardens we have led Morning Prayer ourselves. In other words we have tried to be back to normal although Communion Services have been a bit unusual with “bring your own bread”.
For the first Sunday in September we shall be worshipping in St Christopher’s because Stour Music will be holding their postponed Festival at All Saints. The form it will take will be very different from usual but we wish them every success.
We shall be celebrating Harvest Festival on Sunday 27th at 9.30. Because of present arrangements we cannot hold our usual Harvest Lunch but we shall be decorating the church, so it should look magnificent again. Do say if you can help with this.
Ride and Stride is taking place again this year. If you want to cycle or walk on Sept 12 between churches to raise money for Friends of Kent Churches (interdenominational) contact for details. We shall be joining as usual with both churches open.
We always welcome visitors even though we look strange in our masks! Come and see!
Clare Hardwick (01233 623618) and Rita Hawes (01233 627117),