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.
At least we missed this!
October already and we are back at St Christopher’s for the winter. Our services are at 9.30am as usual. We wear masks and have to be well aware of spacing as we have been spoilt in the vast All Saints. It's a shame that we are still not allowed to sing, but our organists very kindly attend and provide some lovely occasional music.
We finally have our date for our AGM (called APCM, or Annual Parochial Church Meeting), now fixed for next Monday, 26th October at 7.30pm in St Christopher's church. As with all AGMs it is an open meeting with the public warmly welcomed. AGMs are often regarded as boring but not here! It's a good opportunity to review our 2019 activities - almost a distant memory - and look to future activities and proposals.
As we do not have a sermon at our Morning Prayer services, which we wardens lead, we have been using Jane Williams' comments on the readings for that Sunday. They were recommended to us and are certainly thought-provoking. Communion Services by contrast are led by the clergy, although in these Covid times we have to bring our own bread and wine. However, we do have some reserves of fruit juice and biscuit if you forget.
We are pleased that we have been able to maintain our regular Services and safely welcome all. Do join us.
Clare Hardwick (01233 623618) and Rita Hawes (01233 627117),