all about All Saints and St Christopher's Churches
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.
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, and for a "guided tour" click here.
Still to come? Brrr!
Saint Christopher's church
CHURCHWARDENS' DECEMBER NOTES
When we wrote this we were looking forward to resuming services at St Christopher’s. But as we all now know, all services in the Benefice have been suspended while the area remains in Covid Tier 4. We'll update this note as and when the situation improves, and we hope to see you sometime in January or shortly afterwards.
Our traditional and well-loved Nativity Scene outside St Christopher’s is at least reminding passers by of the first Christmas in Bethlehem, but of course our important fundraising Christmas Bazaar and Coffee Morning had to be cancelled. Fortunately the Christmas Hamper Raffle was a great success and a lovely surprise for the lucky winner who bought her ticket at Perry Court. We’d like to thank all those who contributed to the hamper, and those of you who sold or bought tickets.
Moving forward we have to be inventive! Like all the parishes in the Wye Benefice we are entitled to the services of our over-stretched licensed clergy for only two services a month. In our case these will be on the second and fourth Sundays. As Churchwardens we shall lead Morning Prayer on the first Sunday but the inventiveness comes in for Sunday 3.
Already we have a volunteer to give a talk in January, but are looking for ideas for services in perhaps a different format, based maybe on Morning Prayer but not necessarily. Please contact us if you have suggestions even small ones. After all, great oak trees grow from small acorns! We are confident that our local community will rally round - they always do.
Lastly we wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year
Clare Hardwick (01233 623618) and Rita Hawes (01233 627117)
PS As the representative for the Parish I (Rita) attended the funeral of Clare Hiscock. Our tribute was read out - she had only recently stopped preaching at St Christopher’s – and it was a joy to hear the tributes from her family and friends. She was loved and respected by many who will miss her dearly.