View our external website: www.echob.be
This Church serves all English speaking people in the greater Ostende area and the English Church in Bruges, Keerstraat 1, 8000 Bruges.
The Church belongs to the Diocese in Europe.
The Church celebrated the 140th anniversary of its current building in September 2005
The growth or Ostend from a small fishing village to a thriving port and holiday resort has been influenced by wars and changes of government, for Belgium has, in the past been part of greater nations and often occupied by foreign troops.
Under Austrian rule Ostend was in a period or expansion. The port flourished and British merchants and their families settled here. Two thousand British residents brought not only prosperity, but also their own way or life with English landlords in pubs and English plays at the theatre. No wonder then that as soon as it became possible. Ostend had its "English Church" with a resident chaplain. This was to occur in the early 1780's when the Austrian emperor Joseph II decreed religious reforms, one of which gave non-Catholics freedom to exercise their religious beliefs. The chaplain was lodged .in an old warehouse serving also as place or worship.
However, when the French revolutionaries took over this country in the 1790's, the British left Ostend.
Some were to return after the victory or Waterloo, and in 1817 a Dutch chaplain speaking English and French was appointed, serving both the army and the British residents. In 1819 the government made the former chapel of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in the Witte Nonnenstraat (Street of the White Nuns) available, situated where later the Post Office was to be built. This chapel was first used for military stores. In due course the government allowed the stores to be removed and the chapel became once again a place of worship. In 1829 an English chaplain was installed.
After 1830. the year Belgium became independent, there was renewed prosperity in Ostend following the inauguration or the railway between here and the capital or the new kingdom, Brussels, and the building or three cross-channel steamers. British tourists began flocking in.
When, in 1863, it was decided the chapel would have to be expropriated to make place for a new Post Office, the town council, mainly under the impulse of King Leopold 1, proceeded to build the present church, this to serve solely the British colony which, by then, was 2000 strong on a total population of 16000. The church was consecrated in 1865 and was furnished with many items from the chapel, including the Communion Table, the pulpit, the organ and the pews. In the new church there was a State Pew occupied on several occasions by Queen Victoria and other members of the British royal family while on visits to the Queen's uncle, Leopold I. The Emperor or Germany, ex Kaiser Wilhelm (whose mother was a daughter of Queen Victoria) of 1914/18 fame, also worshipped there with his wife.
In 1983 part or the ribbed vaulting fell down, and all of it had to be replaced by a barrel vaulted ceiling, slightly arched.
In the name of Christ we welcome those of all denominations who come to hear God's word in English in fellowship with us.
This church is part of the Archdeaconry of N.W. Europe, within the Diocese in Europe, and is also listed on the overview of Anglican Churches in Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg.
Oostende is a popular sea side resort with many fish restaurants and plenty of facilities for tourists and holiday makers, for details see the official website of the City of Oostende.
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