Style of worship:
St. Nicholas, Otham is very much middle of the road in terms of churchmanship. There are two sung Eucharists each month and one parish family service. Extra services are offered according to seasonal requirements, such as a ‘Service of Light’ on Advent Sunday evening, Crib Services on Christmas Eve and a ‘Dawn Liturgy’ early on Easter Sunday. The music for the family service is provided by a small, but developing, music group. As with the choir new members are always welcome.
St. Mary, Langley is generally less formal than St. Nicholas and is ‘lower’ in terms of churchmanship. There is one sung parish Eucharist, one said Eucharist and one parish family service each month. There are occasional extra seasonal services, for example ‘Good Friday meditations’ but by and large most of these extra, seasonal services take place at St. Nicholas. They are, however, attended by people from both congregations.
Children’s work: Towards the end of 2014 we commenced Messy Church (see spearate web page) which is for children of all ages. We have close links with Madginford Primary School (the Rector is on the governing body) and we recently welcomed 90 children from year two into the church so they could spend the morning exploring the church, with help of our Church Trail, and also the churchyard. Each month we have two parish family services (one at St. Nicholas and one at St. Mary) which are extremely ‘child friendly’ and very informal.
Groups: Each Lent we run a series of study groups for the parish as a whole (we usually use the Diocesan Lent Course). We are looking towards establishing a group concerned with ‘peace and reconciliation’.
Prayer Circle: We now have a prayer circle by which means people can be prayed for as and when requested.
Links with civil councils – The ecclesiastical parish of Otham with Langley has, in full or in part, five civil parishes within its boundaries (Langley, Otham, Downswood, Bearsted and Boughton Monchelsea). Relationships with councillors from across the parish are very positive, and the Rector tries occasionally to attend meetings of different councils.
Links with other Churches – There is currently no other place of worship within pour parish. Notwithstanding this fact thhe parish of Otham with Langley plays a full part in the life of Bearsted Area Churches Together (BACT), in respect not only to BACT initiated events and services, but also council and church leaders meetings.
Links with charitable organisations – The Parish of Otham with Langley supports, financially and prayerfully, a variety of good causes both near and far. Locally we support Maidstone Street Pastors, Maidstone Breatheasy, Homeless Care (formerly Maidstone Christian Care) and, through the annual cycle ride, Kent Churches. Nationally we support a Christian radio station, the Children’s Society and the Christian Ecology Link. Internationally we support a Diocese in Madagascar, a CMS children’s project in Nairobi and a refuge for abused women in Romania. Additionally we support Christian Aid Week and Water Aid.
Other church activities – Thanks to the completion, just a few years ago, of the first two phases of a three phase ‘open church’ project in St. Nicholas, and which involved a major refurbishment and reordering of the inside of the church, we are now able to use the church for purposes other than worship. To this end we hold a monthly quiz night and a monthly tea party. We have also held celebration meals to raise funds for Water Aid. Additionally we have plant sales, a Marmalade morning and a book sale in the church. Langley church holds (February through till September) monthly soup or coffee mornings and the parish holds an annual Christmas Bazaar and a summer fete. The choir sing carols at the annual switching on of the Christmas lights on Downsood estate. The Rector leads a monthly communion service in Vale Residential Home.