History of Christ Church Little Heath
Christ Church was built in late-Victorian times to serve a mixture of large villas and artisan cottages in the area alongside the Great North Road north of the former Middlesex-Hertfordshire boundary. It has always had an evangelical ethos with simpler architecture and less ornate furniture than other churches in the area.
The inside of the church has the traditional cross-shaped floor plan. The original Victorian choir stalls and the pews in the transepts (the arms of the cross) have been replaced by chairs to provide greater flexibility for modern forms of Christian worship. The sanctuary area, enclosing the Communion Table, has been raised and extended to improve visibility.
Stained Glass Windows
In many churches, the pictures in stained glass windows are of Old Testament prophets, New Testament apostles, medieval saints, bishops, kings or generous benefactors, the windows at Christ Church are unusual in that they are all based on specific Bible texts
The East Window above the Communion Table is even more unusual in that the middle of the three lights shows Job, his three so-called comforters and, in the background, destruction of his home and his family which started his period of suffering. This illustrates the text: "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away." (Job 1:21) and is a tribute by the widow of our church's founder to her husband on his death in 1914. Thomas Samuel Downing Wallace gave a large proportion of the money needed to build Christ Church and also worked in the church as a Sunday School teacher and in many other ways. The two other lights in the East Window illustrate our Lord's concern for children, on the left: "Jesus took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them." (Mark 10:16), and the Feeding of the Five Thousand on the right: "Andrew spoke up and said: Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fishes." (John 6:8).
The Window in the North Transept (Window 2) was given in memory of Mrs Elizabeth Wallace, widow of our church's founder, after her death in 1928. This Window was originally in the South Transept but was moved when the new entrance and the foyer were built as part of our Millennium alterations. The main illustration is of "Faith, Hope and Charity." (1 Corinthians 13:13). Nowadays we usually use the word "Love" instead of "Charity", but these three attributes of Christian discipleship remain unchanged, and are illustrated in the three vignettes below the main figures. The one on the left shows "Dorcas, who was always doing good and helping the poor." (Acts 9:36), the one in the middle shows Jesus meeting Peter after his resurrection, and commissioning him to lead and teach the disciples: "Jesus said: Feed my sheep." (John 21:17), and the one on the right illustrates the parable of the Good Samaritan: "A Samaritan saw him, bandaged his wounds, and put him on his own donkey." (Luke 10:33-34).
Windows 1 and 2 were made by William Morris and Co and include elaborate frames reminiscent of the carved niches around statues of saints in gothic churches and cathedrals.
The most recent Window is on the north side of the Nave and commemorates Christ Church's Centenary in 1993. It uses the life of St Paul to illustrate the work of the Holy Spirit in the growth of the world-wide Church. The left-hand light shows Ananias blessing Paul after his conversion and temporary blindness on the road to Damascus: "The Lord has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:17). The coming of the Holy Spirit is represented as a shaft of light: "Blessed are those who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord." (Psalm 89:15) and reminds us of the "tongues of fire that came to rest on each of the disciples" at the first Pentecost. (Acts 2:3).
The right-hand light of the Centenary Window shows episodes from the later life of St Paul, including him writing his epistles to the New Churches: "I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand." (2 Thessalonians 3:17), preaching on Mars Hill below the Acropolis in Athens: "Now what you worship as something unknown, I am going to proclaim to you." (Acts 17:23) and being ship-wrecked off Malta on his way to trial in Rome: "The ship struck a sand-bar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf." (Acts 27:41).
When the church was built, the only entrance for the congregation was through the tower and the west door. As in most churches, the baptismal font was near this entrance, in the space now occupied by the sound desk. The Window in this corner was given in memory of Charles Trinder, a former churchwarden. It illustrates the meaning of Baptism as becoming a member of the church by showing the Presentation of Christ in the Temple at Jerusalem: "Joseph and Mary took Jesus to present him to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice of a pair of doves or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22-24). They were met by Simeon who: "took Jesus in his arms and praised God saying; Mine eyes have seen your salvation." (Luke 2:28-30). The small trefoil above the main window links this episode with Jesus's later baptism in the River Jordan when: "The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove." (Luke 3:22).
At the end of the Nave we come to the West Window, this window is in a different style again. It is mainly plain glass with medallions of stained glass set within it, and commemorates Kate Dore of Stormont who died in 1942. In the left-hand light, we see the birth of Jesus in the stable at Bethlehem: "The shepherds found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger." (Luke 2:16).
In the centre light is depicted an episode from later in Jesus’ life when he stayed with friends at Bethany near Jerusalem. Mary wanted to sit and listen to Jesus but her sister Martha wanted Mary to come and help her to prepare a meal for them: "The Lord answered: Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:42). In the right-hand light, we see Jesus blessing the children; "Jesus said; let the little children come to me." (Matthew 19:14). The children in this light are shown in typical dress of the 1930s and emphasises that Jesus continues to be concerned for their welfare.
Window 6 is on the south side of the Nave and was made by AL and CE Moore and in quite a different style, giving the impression that we are looking out through the window to events happening outside. It was given in memory of Henry Ascough Thompson for many years a churchwarden at Christ Church who died in 1926. The Window illustrates the Resurrection. On the left is shown: "An angel of the Lord rolled back the stone an sat on it." (Matthew 28:2). When the women came expecting to embalm Christ's body the angel said: "He has risen. He is not here." (Mark 16:6). On the right is shown; "Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance." (John 20:1). The Window includes flowers to remind us that the tomb was in a garden and behind Mary we can see the three crosses on the hill outside the city of Jerusalem,
Garden of Remembrance
Whilst there is no graveyard at Christ Church Little Heath, we do have a Garden of Remembrance where the ashes of more than 150 of our friends and relatives have been laid to rest.
The Garden was first created in 1977 and the whole area was consecrated by