About Iden Green Congregational Church
We are a church community in the beautiful village of Iden Green that seeks to worship God and to share His love with those around us.
Our church family is made up of a real mix of people, young and old. We meet twice on Sundays, as well as during the week for fellowship evenings. You can find details of all of our meetings, including our activities for children and young people, on our ‘What’s On’ page.
We’ve been meeting as a church in Iden Green since 1833 – you can read more about our history below.
Of course, you’d be very welcome to join us — whether you’re looking for a new church or you’ve not been to church for a very long time. If you have any questions about us, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.
We’re served by a devoted team.
Pictured here (left to right) are Tobin Bird (Elder), Andrew Barrett (Deacon), Nigel Gray (Elder) and David Knott (Deacon/Treasurer).
The church in Iden Green, where Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s father was a minister for a time, was founded in 1833 by dissenters in the hamlet who wanted to worship where they lived.
Their alternative was to walk five miles to just outside Sandhurst. The Baptist Church there attracted believers from far and wide.
Initially in Iden Green the Christians met at Field Farm, which can still be seen today behind Claremont Place (commonly called ‘the Five Dwellings’). The first pastor was a certain Thomas Avery. He was inducted by the then pastor at Sandhurst.
By 1834 the need for a dedicated chapel was clear, so the little church set about securing funds. The Kent Baptist Association did not offer any financial help but the local Congregationalists did. In consequence, the church was established as Congregational but open to Baptists who might care to become members. The weatherboard chapel, in what is now called ‘Chapel Lane’, was opened on 19th April 1837.
The denominational equivocation was formalised in the Church Statements of 1860 that were prepared by the Rev’d T Joseph Kightley of Cranbrook Congregational Church. Connections with Cranbrook have always been strong; in 1860 the cause in Iden Green was struggling and dependent on Cranbrook’s assistance.
Over the years half the ministers at Iden Green have also had charge at Cranbrook — a practice that continued until the Rev’d Bill Gurney’s retirement from ministry at Cranbrook in 1979. He continued at Iden Green until his death in 1983.
Other than Mr Gurney, favourite names among the ministers at Iden Green happened not to also serve at Cranbrook. The Rev’d J M Hooker, for example, was pastor for twenty-one years albeit in two periods (1906-10 and 1930-46), one as a lay person and then years later having been ordained. The manse, still to be seen in Standen Street (although no longer owned by the church) was built during Mr Hooker’s second term of ministry.
Another popular minister was the Rev’d William Francis Rowlands. He and his wife had returned from serving with the China Inland Mission. They lived in the manse and it was during his time that the second chapel was constructed.
Shaking from World War II doodlebugs led to the original chapel being declared unsafe. As a result, the church met for nine years in the leaky Iden Green Pavilion building. This continued until the brick dual-purpose chapel and public hall was completed in 1954. The foundation stone was laid by Mr Peter Scott, a Biddenden farmer, lay preacher and president of the Beult Sunday School Union. Mr. Scott featured largely in the life of IGCC.
After Mr Gurney passed away, a small team of visiting preachers served the church for four years. They included Mr Gurney’s son, David Gurney, and the Rev’d Peter Larcombe, then minister at Dunton Green Congregational Church.
In 1987 Peter Michell became pastor of Iden Green Congregational Church. In 1995 Mr Noah’s Nursery School was begun as an outreach and ministry of the church. Peter and Marian Michell together with a number of church members were instrumental in this work beginning. The present chapel was constructed and completed in 1999. The Ark extension at the rear of the School Room was built in 2014, to provide additional room for Mr. Noah’s Nursery school. In 2017 Peter Michell retired. The ministry of the church continues under the guidance of the eldership, while we search for a new Pastor. Mr Noah’s Nursery School still thrives and will be leaving the church premises at the end of July 2020.
Surely those founding members in the mid nineteenth century could hardly have imagined the busy Christian community that makes up the church today. It is our prayer that this community continues to grow, and to be a worshipping presence in Iden Green for many years to come!
You can find us on New Pond Road in Iden Green, TN17 4HA.
You can find directions here on Google Maps. We’re not too difficult to find and there’s plenty of parking in front of the church building.