By John Ellis
Most drivers racing round the M25 are no doubt unaware that behind the sound barriers just south of the Dartford Crossing is St Andrew’s United Reformed Church. A green oasis of a safe garden next to the church hall serves community groups and a Pilots company during the week.
I was there on a Sunday morning when the flexible worship area in the church building is laid out to provide comfortable seating for adults and a space for young children, plus refreshments after worship. A congregation representing every generation and several parts of the world shared worship and Communion together. They prayed for Michael Jagessar, me and other Church leaders as we visit the political party conferences over the coming fortnight.
One very significant feature of St Andrew’s is its leadership. Geography does not lend itself to making a natural group of local churches under one minister. Instead Mrs Rosemary Davis has been authorised as the local lay leader. A larger church five miles away provides various forms of support, but Rosemary, as Pastor, is recognised by the congregation and the community as the church’s leader. St Andrew’s Dartford is also one of the minority of United Reformed Churches which has more members today than five years ago. The wider Church might well ponder whether those two facts are connected.