The idea for a church on the west side of town can be traced back to 1868 when the Rev. H. B. Bowlby became the vicar of the town centre church of Holy Trinity. Dartford had grown and it became clear that another place of worship was needed. A piece of land was obtained at the junction of Broomhill Rd and Dartford Rd and a corrugated iron church was built.
Printed leaflets were distributed and the first service was held on 30th May 1870. Curates from Holy Trinity developed the work of this mission church. By 1904 a piece of land was donated for a new church and vicarage in Christ Church Road. Christ Church was consecrated for use on October 27th 1909 at a cost of just over £4,000 although only the building was not as long as originally designed, with only 3 of the designed 5 internal arches being completed.
Becoming of Age
In 1909 Christ Church became a separate parish with its own vicar. Instead of completing the church it was agreed that a hall should be built and this was accomplished in 1934. It was only after the war that the church was completed at a cost of £32,000.
In 1968 the Church Council decided to use a piece of land on the other side of the parish that had been offered for church purposes. They felt that they should build a social centre and perhaps allow for occasional services for the very young and old who would find it difficult to get to Christ Church. The Ashen Drive Centre was dedicated in 1972 and became well used by the community and the church. In 1994 ten members of Christ Church relocated to Ashen Drive to start a new congregation. Over the subsequent years the numbers of adults and children worshipping there rose to 40. This thrived for ten years until the centre had to close in 2004, when the structure became unsound. The worshipping members were then integrated into the Christ Church family.
The Church celebrated its Centenary in 2009 and marked the occasion with many different events, including a flower festival and a Church Ball. We welcomed Rev. Dr. Richard Mortimer who was instituted as incumbent on 25th March 2010. He has been ordained for nine year, serving as a curate at a church in Hastings and then as a chaplain to the new University Centre that opened in the town.
A New Beginning
Almost 10 years to the day of Rev Dr Mortimer joining us at Christ Church, we and the whole world around us were hit by the Covid-19 virus pandemic. An issue so wide, the whole country was placed into a national lockdown (23rd March 2020) to try and break the hold it was taking. As such that meant that our church building was closed and for the first time in its history, our Sunday Services were taken online, with videos produced to be played on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. It was a steep learning curve but we ultimately proved that we could look out and still engage despite not being able to meet in person.
Coming out from that has been like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. We are experiencing new vibrancy and new life, with people coming to faith through Alpha courses and encountering God by the power of the Holy Spirit; Christ Church is being re-born!
Painting by Christine Ganley