Over 100 men, women and children gathered at the Discovery School on Sunday for the first service of the newly named St Gabriel’s Church, the local Church of England congregation for Kings Hill.
Rt Rev James Langstaff, the Bishop of Rochester, was present to lead the service and, standing alongside local clergy, he inaugurated the use of the name St Gabriel’s and blessed the church congregation as they took up residence in their new home of the Discovery School.
The Girls’ Brigade and the Discovery School Choir also participated in the service by singing songs for the congregation and the centre-piece of the celebration was a naming ceremony for the church community after which a banner featuring a large angel was held aloft by the children.
The local community of Kings Hill had been invited to vote for their favourite name online and St Gabriel had been the overwhelming winner. Bishop James noted it was a particularly apt name for a community built on a former airfield!
It is unusual for an Anglican congregation to be named without having a church building, but Bishop James gave special permission for the community to choose an identity for the congregation. In inaugurating the use of their new name during the service, he said:
‘May you be faithful to the Angel Gabriel’s calling as a messenger of good news and a herald of the Lord Jesus Christ.’
After the service, there was lively discussion, refreshments and Girls’ Brigade cupcakes enjoyed by all. St Gabriel’s now meets every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the Discovery School, Discovery Drive, Kings Hill.