While often referred to as Upnor Church, the church of St. Philip & St. James is a hidden gem found in Upnor village.
But what is actually available at this church? And what about its history? Here’s everything you need to know about the quiet and beautiful Upnor Church.
All Saints & Upnor
St. Philip & St. James falls under the All Saints Frindsbury banner. The parish itself is actually on the outskirts of Strood, with the main church of All Saints looking over the Medway River.
All Saints Frindsbury draws its congregation primarily from Frindsbury and Wainscott while St. Philip and St James is in Upnor village and Bishop Gundulph church is at Chattenden. While technically there are three individual and unique churches, they are all organised and run by All Saints.
About the church
The ecclesiastical parish of Upnor split from Frindsbury in 1884 but was later reabsorbed in 1955. The parish church of St. Philip and St. James (1884) was designed by Ewan Christian and it is virtually unaltered today.
In 2020, the church has an electronic organ and PA system, along with toilet facilities and a moveable tea/coffee bar. Out front of the church is a small graveyard with a few car park spaces.
The current reverend at the church is Nicholas Cooper, who moves between all three churches.
Upnor Church events
The church has a handful of regularly scheduled events that anyone in the area can drop in on, depending on your needs and interest. All of these particular events and meetings take place at the church in Upnor. However, you could also check out additional events at All Saints Frindsbury.
Morning Worship happens every first, third and fifth Sunday at 9 a.m. for about one hour.
Holy Communion takes place every second and fourth Sunday at 9 a.m. for roughly one hour.
Looking for something a bit different? Up4It happens at the church every second Saturday at 4 p.m. for one hour. This family-friendly worship experience is open to all and includes various crafts, music, activities and refreshments.
It’s a really great opportunity to meet others in the village, all while being creative and having fun.
UpChat Coffee Morning
Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. the church hosts UpChat Coffee Morning. Each meeting lasts for about one hour and 30 mins and is a great place for parents with toddlers to get together for a chat and a coffee.
For such a small village, there are numerous weekly events and meetings at the church.
Visiting Upnor Church
The church has a few car parking space in front of the building, but these are often all in use during Sunday services. There is a free car park in Upper Upnor that can be used if necessary (and takes about a 8 minute walk from the car park to the church).
When driving, enter postcode ME2 4UX into your Sat Nav. St. Philip and St. James Church is often easily missed as it’s tucked behind some trees.
The church has wheelchair and pushchair access via a disabled ramp from the pavement at the front of the building.
Looking for a bite to eat afterwards? There are four beautiful and historic pubs in Upnor that are all open on Sundays. All four pubs are within reasonable walking distance from the church as well.
You can also visit Upnor Beach in Lower Upnor after your time at the church, which is about a 10 minute walk. While it’s not ideal for sun-bathing, it does offer wonderful views of the River Medway.
Want to give back to Upnor?
Just outside the free car park in Upper Upnor, there is the village notice board which holds details about upcoming events, meetings, litter-picking and groups in the area. If you’re looking to become more involved in the village, or back to help give back, the community notice board is a great place to check every once in awhile.
Currently St. Philip & St. James is unable to hold in-person service, but have been posting resources for church members online. All Saints have been posting prayers every week along with order of services and notice sheets online to easily download.