THIS PAGE WAS PRINTED FROM THE TOUCH 2000 HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY IN TONBRIDGE WEBSITE
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St. Andrew's Church can be found tucked away among the trees on the edge of Hadlow Road, almost opposite Cranford Road. The church began its story as Fish Hall Mission. It dates back to the 1870's, when services were held in the lodge of Fish Hall. A Mission was founded there, known as Hadlow Stair Mission. In the summertime, services were held in a tent within the grounds of Fish Hall. Although the mission was run on Church of England principles, people of all denominations worshipped there.
Mr. A. E. Peters of Fish Hall set aside a plot of land on which it was intended a proper church would eventually be built. One day, a daughter of Mr. Peters was rescued from drowning, and as a token of his gratitude he gave the Mission a building. He purchased a small mission church building in Brighton, where it was no longer in use, and had it transported to Hadlow Road. The building was re-constructed and became Fish Hall Mission.
The church still remains as it did at the time when it was a mission hall, a wooden structure with a corrugated iron roof, although many improvements have been made inside over the years. When entering the church, visitors are often amazed at what they see. It seems bigger from the inside than it does from the outside. It is warm and comfortable as well as bright and cheerful. Fish Hall Church, now named St. Andrew's, became part of the Parish of St. Peter and St. Paul in 1940 when the parish boundaries were changed.
It had been the vision of Michael Perry, Vicar of St. Peter and St. Paul
in the early 1990's, to open a church plant at Woodlands School. In 1996, that
vision was partially fulfiled when St. Andrew's transferred its monthly
Family Services to Woodlands School. The first service at the school was
held in September that year. This service began with the blessing of the
Methodist Church and other churches in the area. Now, children were able to
have their own separate Sunday School lessons (see below) which they had been unable to
have in the Hadlow Road building.
The first baptism at Woodlands School was in the early part of 1999 and was conducted by the Minister in Charge, Rev. Brian Adams. A second baptism is expected in May 2000. In time, it is hoped that the monthly services at Woodlands will become a Church Plant in its own right, with regular weekly services for the residents of the area.
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