Stone Church, St Mary the Virgin
13th Century parish church of Stone-next-Dartford, Kent
A place of welcome, prayer, healing and peace.
The Lantern Community Centre project
'Room for Improvement!'
If you've no time to read this page please do look at our appeal which can be viewed here:-
Our ‘Music by Moonlight’ concert last Saturday raised £465.44,
…with a little bit more to be counted. Thank you to all who contributed.
Building firm foundations
After many years of planning, fundraising and prayer, by the Spring of 2017 significant progress had been made on the very complex project to build the new Lantern Community Centre.
Although still a somewhat uninspiring sight this concrete floor slab is the firm foundation for the new Community Centre within the churchyard which, once funding allows, will be built on it within the near future.
In June 2017 a specially engraved marble foundation stone, kindly donated to St Mary’s, was laid by the Bishop of Rochester,
James Langstaff, who then blessed the whole site with evident pleasure.
Profound and grateful thanks are extended to all those who have worked so hard over many years to achieve the completion of this first, extremely complex phase of the Church Room Project.
Now, post pandemic in 2022, we are renewing our efforts to progress Phase 2 of the Lantern Community Centre project - raising sufficient funds for the construction of the building itself and the fitting out costs .
Please will you help?
Donations to help us build the new Lantern Community Centre can be made directly at church (using the special Gift Aid envelopes provided if you are a tax payer),
through our 'Give a Little' app,
through our Just Giving account
or by scanning our new QR code with your smart phone or tablet
What's this project all about?
Stone’s historic and beautiful Grade I listed church has stood here for over 750 years. It is a unique and irreplaceable part of our community’s past, present and future.
However, to serve in the modern day it badly needs updating. It has no toilet, no kitchen, and no heating. This is a constant problem for both regular worshippers and the many other visitors who come here. Visitors who attend special events and services, weddings, baptisms, funerals, bell ringing, school services, concerts, historical or photographic visits, or are simply tourists who come to admire this magnificent church.
At the same time the old church hall, with its minimal and somewhat antiquated facilities, was nowhere near the church and was falling down.
St Mary’s desperately needs new facilities. The new church room, to be called the Lantern Community Centre, is to be built in the churchyard, next to the church itself.
We have had the plans drawn up, have the Planning consent, have the approval from the Diocese and all the other relevant bodies with an interest in the Grade 1 status of St Mary's but to build the new facilities we need to raise further funds, now, owing to significantly increased building costs, in the region of £400,000
We were finally able to sell the old church hall site to raise funds, but the proceeds from this will no longer cover the cost of the new build. We are actively seeking grants to help meet the shortfall between the cost of a new building and the proceeds of the old site. We are very grateful to the Benefact Trust for giving us £20,000 as well as to private individuals for their donations.
We are continuing with our active fundraising efforts from among our own regular congregation and other users and supporters of St Mary's. Fundraising events take place regularly and have already included concerts, fashion shows, race nights, dinner dances, quiz nights, coffee mornings, a garden party, and our own version of 'open gardens', a sponsored walk to Lincoln, and another to Westminster Abbey, with more functions being planned.
But you can help too. Whether you are a regular worshipper or occasional visitor, have been to a christening or carol service, wedding or funeral, and if you want St Mary’s to survive into the future as a place that can be used by this community, please donate.