The United Church in Ashford: Constitution, Property and Trusteeship
The following was put together was Rev Dr P Luscombe, in March 2014.
In April 1969 a Joint Committee of the Congregational Church in Ashford and the Methodist Church in Bank Street, Ashford recommended ‘a united witness’ because it was believed ‘to be right in principle’. ‘Congregational Church’ here seems to mean the three congregations then existing in Ashford. The recommendation soon resulted in the ‘United Church’ in Ashford, which involved the following elements:
- Bank Street, a United Church (which later changed its name to ‘Centrepiece’). This was a merger in 1970 of Church Road Congregational Church and Bank Street Methodist Church. The united congregation met at Church Road while Bank Street was extensively rebuilt. Church Road Congregational Church was a substantial building in the centre of Ashford. Documentation from this period is sparse but suggests that the proceeds of the sale of Church Road Congregational Church were split equally between Bank Street, Kennington and Cade Road.
- Faversham Road United Church. This was a Congregational chapel, which was rebuilt on a new site in 1971. There was no prior Methodist congregation in the neighbourhood, but this church now became part of the United Church with the name Kennington United Church.
- Cade Road United Church. In 1972 the former Beaver Congregational Church and Denmark Road Methodist Church united in new premises on a new site already owned by Beaver Congregational Church. Both former churches were sold, and there was also a contribution from the sale of Church Road.
These three buildings all had Sharing Agreements, which were revised through the years. Kennington’s Agreement was last revised in 1978 and Cade Road’s in 1993. The Centrepiece Sharing Agreement, a revision dated 1987, was terminated in 2013 when the building was sold.
The original Constitution and Covenant for the United Church came into being on 18 November 1970. The Constitution was revised in 1973 to take account of the formation of the United Reformed Church. It was revised again in 1990 (to bring it up to date and ‘to re-word some of the phrases in the Covenant, which time had made uncouth.’).
There were further revisions of the Constitution in the early 2000s, and in 2004 St John’s Methodist Church, Great Chart joined the United Church. A final revision of the old Covenant and Constitution for the United Church dates from 2006.
Centrepiece Church (the old Bank Street premises) was sold in July 2013; the congregation having voted to join Cade Road in February 2013.The old Constitution was replaced in September 2013 by a new (standard SCLEP) constitution covering the Kennington and Cade Road congregations.