St. Mary’s Church, Chart Road, Sutton Valence, Kent ME17 3AW.
The parish shares borders with East Sutton, Chart Sutton and Headcorn, now all in the same benefice.
For more precise directions, please see the map at the bottom of this page.
The church is open daily from approximately 10.00 am to 6.00pm.
STYLE OF WORSHIP AND MUSIC
Worship embraces both traditional and modern styles centred on the Common Worship Parish Communion. We also enjoy various one off “specials” such as the VE day anniversary service whenever possible.
St. Mary’s has a strong tradition with a choral setting of the Parish Communion service and hymns every week. There is a small, dedicated choir which is augmented for special occasions such as the Christmas Service of Nine Lessons and Carols and on Good Friday when a work such as Stainer’s ‘The Crucifixion’, Maunder’s ‘Olivet to Calvary’ of Faure’s ‘Requiem’ is performed.
There is a varied programme of social events. An Archive Exhibition takes place monthly from April to September on the first Saturday by local historian Michael Beaman, with associated coffee mornings. There are cheese and wine events in church on summer Saturday evenings, Pimms parties on a parishioner’s lawn on a sunday morning in September, Knit and Knatter sessions. The main fundraising event is the Christmas Market in the Village Hall, with its world-renowned lunches, with a range of other events throughout the year, some designed to raise money, others designed simply to bring members of the congregation and the wider village together.
A well-established Parish Magazine is produced monthly, with a circulation of approximately 450 copies. Contributions come from many local organisations: the Primary School, the Royal British Legion, the WI, youth organisations, the Gardeners Association, as well as giving prominence to social and other events in the Weald Deanery!
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PHOTOGRAPHS OF OUR CHURCH
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SUTTON VALENCE YOUTH CENTRE
We have a fantastic meeting and/or function room behind our church. It’s known as the Youth Centre because so many of our young people and children’s groups use it. It is also available to hire for special events such as parties.
For more information about costs and availability, please email Sue Wight at: firstname.lastname@example.org
LINKS WITH SCHOOLS IN THE PARISH
The church has strong links with Sutton Valence School through the Headmaster and the School Chaplain. Apart from Sutton Valence School, there are no other secondary schools in the parish.
OTHER CHURCH ORGANISATIONS
The Mothers’ Union meets on a monthly basis and is now twinned with the Bearsted Branch. Numbers are few, but members are dedicated to maintaining the identity of the Branch under its own enrolling member.
LINKS WITH OTHER ORGANISATIONS AND CHURCHES
After many years of no contact, strong links have now been established with Sutton Valence Care Home. A short service has been held in the home for residents on a monthly basis since 2008. Numbers attending the services have varied from four or five up to 24.
There are no churches of any other denomination in the village.
There has been a settlement in Sutton Valence since at least Roman times, and a church is recorded in the Domesday Book. A picture of the church in 1823 shows nave and chancel with two separately roofed side chapels, and a tower on the north side. The church’s main treasure was a 14th century altarpiece sculpted in England from stone brought from Caen. The building was in a state of collapse in 1823 and the altarpiece was discarded. The three middle panels were, however, subsequently recovered and remain on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum
The new building of Kentish ragstone had a large open nave with a chancel and side chapel (the Lambe’s Chapel, named after William Lambe (B. 1495), Master of the Clothworkers’ Company and founder of Sutton Valence School ). Major work took place in 1874 with the building of pillars and arches to support the roof, the creation of south and north aisles, the replacement of the west gallery and the installation of the present organ, pretty much as we see it today. A new lighting sytem was recently installed and plans are now afoot to install a lavatory (the first question of those attending weddings and funerals) and also a hospitality area at the rear of the church.
Sutton Valence remains largely a farming community, but has a significant proportion of commuters to London.
WEALD DEANERY: www.deaneryintheweald.org.uk
CANTERBURY DIOCESE: www.canterburydiocese.org