St Mary's Horton Kirby

The Parish church of St Mary the Virgin is situated in Horton Kirby and serves the villages of South Darenth and Horton Kirby with a population of some 3,350. It is a Grade II* Listed building, completed circa 1225 in a larger form than we see today. The church was built at the same time as Rochester Cathedral as both buildings share a stonemason's benchmark. In the 1970s the pews at the rear of the church were removed and replaced with chairs providing a flexible space which is normally set out in a cafe style, unless all 120 seats are needed for occasional servcies. In recent years we have provided tea and cake on Tuesday afternoons and in July and August we have served cream teas to raise funds and provide fellowship for the community.

We have a very small Mothers' Union branch which meets regularly and contributes to the work of Mothers' Union worldwide.

Following an electrical inspection at the request of Ecclesiastrical Insurance we have raised the funds to rewire St Mary's and provide new heating and lighting. A 'Friends of St Mary's' has been launched with the vision of providing funds for the upkeep of the fabric of the church.

We are very proud of the recently reinstated Ascension West Window. It was removed in 1938 as there were no funds to repair it and stored in the tower for 70 years. In 2011 a group of villagers decided to raise funds to reinstate it. The window also bears a dedication to Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee in 2012, an example of how the villagers value the building.

There are 8 lovely bells at St Mary's and we ring for Sunday services and weddings and occasionally for funeral too. We are a happy band of ringers and after practice on a Thursday evening we adjorun to The Bull, our local hostelry. The ringers feel very much a part of the church community with members of the band being part of church projects.

Flowers play an important role in helping to make the interior of St Mary's vibrant and attractive to congregations and visitors. They are arranged weekly, where possible reflecting the seasons of the year. We hold a triennial themed flower festival. All the arrangements are created by local volunteers and sponsored by local businesses and individuals.