The first purpose built Anglican church in London in 40 years has been opened in Tottenham, London.
Situated in Hale Village in Tottenham, north-east London, the 'state of the art' St Francis at the Engine Room and its adjoined community centre provide of 'modern and flexible space for regular worship', the Diocese of London said. The community centre includes a functioning school nursery with 36 places, activity facilities and catering in the form of Loven Bakery, a café run by local pizzeria Loven Presents.
The £3 million Church of England project is part of the Diocese of London's plan to establish 100 new worshipping communities in the city by 2020, with the help of partners like London City Mission. The vision is to have each community 'locally-led' to best serve their respective locations, and, as is the case with St Francis, may accompany the building of new housing estates. St Francis is the first purpose built church that the diocese has seen in 40 years.
'I am delighted to see that God's vision for Tottenham has a new face, a fact made possible by years of hard work from the parishioners of St Francis at the Engine Room, London City Mission and a host of partners,' said the Rt Revd Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton St.
'Francis is a shining example of God's desire for all Londoners to flourish, and one that will inspire many imitators as we continue to love and serve through worship, prayer, listening and play, energised by the good news of Jesus Christ.'
'Someone at No 10 [Downing St] once said: "We don't do God."' said Tottenham MP David Lammy at yesterday's opening ceremony, according to The Guardian.
'I've always been very clear that here in Tottenham we do do God.'
Founded in 2013, the community of St Francis has existed in a temporary space, at Hale Village's old Engine Room community centre, for four years while awaiting the completion of its new, permanent home. Through its worship and community activity the church sees about 500 people using it each week.
The historic development was completed through the partnership of the Diocese of London, Lee Valley Estates, Newlon Housing Trust, London City Mission and the London Borough of Haringey.
'In over 20 years as a priest I have never worked in a place where so many different people and groups are so determined to improve the quality of life for all local residents,' said Fr Andrew Williams, priest missioner at the church. 'St Francis is a young church in every sense, and our task now is to use our new building and facilities to continue to serve God by serving our community.'