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:-
Works in progress!
Exciting times as in early December 2023 sufficient funds have been raised to begin work on construction of the basic shell of the Lantern Community Centre!
A local, Dartford based building company, G.A. Harper has been engaged and the construction period will last until mid May 2024.
Fundraising continues in order to then carry out the work to fit out the interior of the building.
Our next fundraising goal is to raise £40-50K for the interior flooring and the 'first fix' electrics.
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,
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.
St Mary’s desperately needs new facilities. After many years of planning and fundraising the new church room, to be called the Lantern Community Centre, is finally under construction in the churchyard, next to the church itself.
However, we continue to actively seek grants to help meet the shortfall between the cost of a new building and the monies raised to date. We are very grateful to the Benefact Trust for giving us £20,000, to Garfield Weston for a £40,000 grant, to Joseph Rank for a £35,00 grant as well as to many 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.
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 the concrete floor slab, pictured below, 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.