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St. Alphege, Whitstable

July 2, 2015

St. Alphege, Whitstable (Revisited)

I have had the chance to revisit St. Alphege’s. There have been a few changes. This is what I said after a visit a couple of years ago-

This lovely little church sits in the middle of the High Street. It is in a great position to welcome visitors – even on a cold April day there were plenty of people around. It is open every morning for a coffee shop. A simple sign outside says, ‘Coffee Shop Open.’ Inside, I found that this was in full swing and obviously is well used. A table was set up with cards and various other gifts for sale. I was welcomed by a friendly lady.There was a ‘Welcome Leaflet’ available which is very well done. I particularly like the picture of the congregation gathered outside the church. It is a good reminder that here is a living friendly church. This is also downloadable from the website. There is a visitors book but only 10 people had signed this since October.

St Alphege, Whitstable

St Alphege, Whitstable

There is a sign into the church itself (there is a glazed screen to provide a narthex for the coffee shop) which simply says, ‘Church open for prayer.’. It is a peaceful, holy and well loved building with much of interest. There is a prayer book for visitors to enter prayer requests into – this was well used which is so good to see. Also a votive stand. There is a statue of St. Alphege stood in the sanctuary.DSCF8298

There wasn’t anything available on the Christian faith nor on St. Alphege – a story worth telling. Neither was there a church history.

However, this all looks set to change. The church website http://www.stalphege.org.uk gives some details, and a video clip, of an exciting project to tell his story in etched glass. A great idea.

All in all, I rate St. Alphege’s as good for the purposes of this study. It wouldn’t take much more to make it very good. Well worth a visit.

There is now a lovely set of etched glass windows at the back of the church – these tell the story of St. Alphege and there is a book to but which describes them and the life of the saint. There is also a guide to the church which is well produced and, a simple set of laminated guide cards to carry around. These are right next to the door into the nave to encourage people to use them – a simple but very good idea. The church cafe was running and was busy and that all looked good too. There are some pictures of the windows and the guides and I now rate this church as very good. It is also a place with a lovely prayerful atmosphere – well worth a visit.

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