St Thomas’ Church was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury on 4th December 1860, in the presence of the 85 year-old Mrs Sarah Pugh, at whose expense the church had been built and endowed. In 1871 the church was given its own parish, carved out of what had been St Peter’s parish.
Over the years the church was enlarged and extended, and in 1999 the Parish Room was built adjoining the church, providing a kitchen, an office and toilets.
The story of the church is explored in much more detail in Roger Evernden’s well-illustrated book A History of the Church of St Thomas in Southborough. It is available from the Church Office, or the back of church, price £5.
WHO WAS ST. THOMAS?
Our church is named in memory of one of the followers of Jesus. Thomas was a twin, and he is sometimes called Doubting Thomas. He was some-one who was always ready to ask questions.
In John's Gospel, chapter 14, Jesus says `In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.'
Thomas spoke out with the questions other people only thought. The reason that he is called Doubting Thomas is because of what happened in John's Gospel, chapter 20. After the resurrection, Jesus met with the disciples when Thomas was not with them.
The other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’ A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’
We therefore try to be Christians who are not afraid to ask the difficult questions.