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Gallery: Churches of Kent
by Peter Kessler, 24 January 2010
Thanet Part 9: Churches of Broadstairs, Reading
Street, & St Peter's
The Star of the East Hall is on the
south-eastern corner of Edge End Road, two streets over from Christ
Church. Over the door reads a plaque: 'Independent Order
of Good Templars, Star of the East Lodge No.3776. This hall was
erected through the kind generosity of our late Sister De
Merveilleux'. Little information can be found on the hall, but by
2009, spiritualists, working under the name Spiritual Dawn,
were holding healing sessions there twice a week.
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses lies
northwards of the Star of the East Hall, at the far end of the
railway station car park, off St Peter's Park Road. Like most modern
places of worship for Jehovah's Witnesses, which are always called
Kingdom Hall, this building follows a standard pattern in its design
and execution. A different building existed on the site in 1985, but
it is not known if that was also a Kingdom Hall or even a place of
The Quaker Meeting House is on St Peter's
Park, at the corner with Fordound Road. The East Kent area of the
Religious Society of Friends consists of local meetings, with this
building housing the Broadstairs meetings. A Quaker meeting is based
on silence - an expectant silence of waiting - in which the
participants seek to come nearer to each other and to God. Sometimes
a meeting may pass in total silence, although anyone is free to break
that silence if necessary.
The Catholic Church of Our Lady Star of the
Sea is a little further west, on the inside of the junction of
St Peter's Road with Broadstairs Road. The church was built in 1888,
at a time when many new Catholic churches were appearing in Kent.
The design for the apse and north tower was supplied by Sir Giles
Gilbert Scott, who was chiefly associated with the design, building
and renovation of churches, cathedrals and workhouses in the Late
Westover Free Church is some way
to the north and west of Broadstairs, on the north-east corner of
Prince Charles Road and Linley Road in the Westover Estate, on the
way to Reading Street village. In 1953 Harold Seccombe, who was on
the local council, called a meeting at his home in Westwood Road
with a view to forming a non-conformist church on the Westover
Estate. The current site was made available and the church was
opened for public worship in October 1954.
Early congregations consisted of members of other
churches who lived nearby, and in December 1964 the church became a
member of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC),
a membership that has continued to the present day. In 1969 the rear
hall was completed and inaugurated in September of that year. During
1973 the baptistry was created, much of the work being done
voluntarily by church members.
St Andrew's Church, Reading Street is on
the main road through the village, which is now an outlying
attachment of northern Broadstairs. Reading or Redyng Street was
established by Flemish refugees in the 1600s. The history of the
Anglican Church here dates back to 1868 with the building of the
church's infant school. In 1871, a curate was sent from St
Peter-in-Thanet to take divine service in the school and in time it
was felt that the village should have its own church.
The church hall was built first and dedicated in
1907. It was used as a dual purpose building before adjacent land
was used to build the church itself. The new brick and stone church
was dressed in a ragstone exterior and consecrated on 11 April 1911.
Furnishing was interrupted by the First World War, but was completed
soon afterwards with a beautiful oaken screen commemorating the
villagers who did not return from the war being added in 1920.
Oasis Pentecostal Church (Elim)
is on Ranelagh Grove, on the eastern side of the village of St
Peter's, some way south of Reading Street. The church is part of the
Elim Pentecostal Church of over 500 congregations worldwide. The
name 'Elim' was taken from the book of Exodus where the Israelites,
exhausted and dispirited en route from Egypt to Canaan, came to Elim
an oasis in the desert where there were twelve wells of water and
seventy palm trees.
The church of Elim was founded in 1915 by a
Welshman in Monaghan in Ireland. George Jeffreys was an outstanding
evangelist and church planter. He had a Welsh Congregational
background, was strongly influenced by the Welsh Revival of 1904,
and was introduced to Pentecost by an Anglican vicar. The movement
grew with amazing rapidity in the first half of the twentieth
century against the background of a dramatic decline in other church