The town of Dartmouth enjoys a unique position on the banks of the famous River Dart, from which it takes its name and which is often styled “The English Rhine”.
Dartmouth can justifiably claim to be one of Devon’s most interesting and historic seaports. It was from this port that the ships of the Crusades set sail. It was also in Dartmouth that the Pilgrim Fathers assembled in worship for the last time before they began their voyage across the Atlantic in the Mayflower and the Speedwell in 1620 before being forced to returning to Plymouth when it was discovered the Speedwell was taking in water.
In 1341, the town received its first charter from King Edward Ill: a charter which granted self-government under a mayor and corporation, providing that two ships, each of 120 tons, were given to the services of the monarch.
Dartmouth has had connections with many famous sea-faring men Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh being among them Today Dartmouth is the home of the Britannia Royal Naval College that trains officers of many Navies of the world.
Flavel Memorial Church is situated by the Tropical Gardens, with good access to the council car park. It is, consequently, very popular with a number of visitors during the busy summer months, when the population in this attractive resort town increases by 50-100%
Flavel Church has, for some years, been part of a joint pastorate with
Brixham URC, with a single minister responsible for both churches. Dartmouth URC and Dartmouth Methodist congregations united in 1985 to become one ‘United Methodist’ congregation. The church building is some 110 years old, although there has been a church in the same location for almost 300 years. Flavel Hall is situated behind the church. As part of the mission of the church, the URC have agreed in principle to transfer the hall to a new trust to facilitate the building of a community centre incorporating theatre, library, exhibition space and meeting rooms for the church and other bodies.
There is a small but friendly congregation, with a very small but active
Sunday School, which meets during the latter part of the morning service. Morning worship is at 10.45, the minister officiating alternate weeks. There are no evening services, but members of the congregation share in monthly afternoon services at Dartmouth Hospital. Other special services during the year include Harvest of the Sea, Town Service and Toy Service, with, of course, the usual Festivals of the Christian Year. Holy Communion is held monthly on the fourth Sunday.
Flavel Church’s outreach centres around the coffee morning, held each Friday between 10.30 and 12.00, where warm fellowship is enjoyed between people of different denominations, and none. Flavel Hall is used on Tuesday night for ‘Flavel Club’ where children are introduced to the Christian faith through games, activities, talks and lots of fun.
Flavel Church has for many years supported Little John’s House, a home for under-privileged children in Romania. Gifts from Harvest and Toy Service are donated to this cause.
Flavel Church has declined in numbers over recent years yet looks with faith and hope to God to direct their paths into whatever future He has in store for them.