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Churches of the British Isles

Gallery: Churches of Kent

by Peter Kessler, 21 March 2010

Medway Part 3: Churches of Rochester

St Andrew's Mission, Rochester, Kent

St Andrew's Mission is on Cossack Street, to the south of St Peter's. It was a mission or district church established to serve the Delce. It had no separate ecclesiastical parish of its own and was part of St Peter's parish. The church was opened as an Anglican mission in 1889, and ceased to be used in 1973 after surviving the threat of demolition a decade before. About 1980 it was taken over by Medway Towns Gurudwara Sabha, and now serves as a Sikh temple.

Mission of Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis, Rochester, Kent

The Mission of Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis is an Anglican Catholic Church located within Fort Pitt Military Cemetery, off City Way, a little to the south-east of Cossack Street. The mission was established in Strood in 1993 and originally dedicated simply to Saint Francis. Confusion sometimes arose because there was another church in that area with the same dedication, so the decision was made to add an additional patron, creating the current name.

Mission of Our Lady of Walsingham and St Francis, Rochester, Kent

The military cemetery which houses the mission is close to the Napoleonic Fort Pitt. It was founded in the 1850s and the earliest graves are of soldiers killed in the Crimea. Its chapel is owned by the British Army and in 2001 permission was obtained to use the chapel. However, it wasn't all plain sailing. On the night of 17 March 2008 the mission suffered from a devastating attack of vandalism. It was thoroughly smashed up, and repairs took time, being completed by 2009.

Medway Family Churc, Rochester, Kenth

Medway Family Church is on the northern side of Jasper Avenue, directly to the south of Cossack Street. The church officially began on Sunday 3 January 1993, although informal meetings began in September 1992. During 1992, the local Zion Baptist Church realised that because of diminishing numbers they would have to close, so they contacted the Medway group of Newfrontiers to see if there was any way the groups could join up to form a new church.

Medway Family Church, Rochester, Kent

Medway Family Church was born from the union of Newfrontiers in Medway and the Zion church. They were joined by a few people from Dartford Christian Fellowship (also a Newfrontiers church), but in 1998 the use of the Zion Baptist building was lost due to structural decay and damage (it is now a Blockbuster Video shop in Chatham). The church moved to two different buildings before arriving in Jasper Avenue late in 2002. Expansion work followed in 2009.

St Margaret's Cemetery Chapel, Rochester, Kent

St Margaret's Cemetery Chapel lies to the west of Jasper Avenue, along Dale Road and then into Maidstone Road. The chapel consists of a central tower and Episcopal and Nonconformist chapels on either side of it. The first burials were interred here in 1865, not long after London ceased all inner city churchyard burials and other regions were following suit. It serves what is now Rochester City Council's area within the bend of the River Medway.

St John Fisher Catholic Church, Rochester, Kent

St John Fisher Catholic Church is a short way south of the cemetery, on the western side of Maidstone Road. Saint John Fisher (1469-1535) was an English Roman Catholic bishop and cardinal. He was executed by order of Henry VIII during the English Reformation for refusing to accept him as head of the Church of England. He is the only member of the College of Cardinals to have suffered martyrdom. Unfortunately, no information on the church itself can be found.

St Luke's Methodist Church, Rochester, Kent

St Luke's Methodist Church is on St William's Way, directly south of Jasper Avenue and south-east of St John Fisher. The age of the building cannot be ascertained, but it probably dates to the 1960s or soon afterwards. In 2009, the church had a membership of around sixty people of varying ages. It also served as a centre for various group within the local community, and in addition to the church itself, there were two large function rooms and a well-equipped kitchen.

St Justus Church, Rochester, Kent

St Justus Church is a large modern building which sits on the corner of Anchor Road and The Fairway. Following the development of the St William's Way area and the Warren Wood Estate from 1947-1955, it was decided that a new church should be built. Prior to this local Anglicans had attended either St Margaret's or St Peter's in Rochester. From 21 January 1955 a few people began gathering for worship in a hut in Fleet Road, now occupied by Hybrid Close.

St Justus Church, Rochester, Kent

This was known as Little St Margaret's. On 3 September 1955, the foundation stone of St Justus Church was laid, and consecration took place on 9 November 1956. During the great storm on 16 October 1987, the building collapsed, possibly due to a temporary wall being unable to take the full force of the wind, which caused the roof to collapse. The building had to be demolished. On 3 September 1990, work officially started on the current building.

All photos on this page by P L Kessler.



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