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Progress report on the new Church and Community centre at Tottenham Hale – June 2015

Introduction: We have good progress to report. The worshipping community is already becoming well established under Fr Andrew Williams. Construction of the shell and core of the building continues apace so that the new Church and community spaces can be seen very clearly. Terms have been agreed for a 500 year lease (as opposed to the original plan for a 250 year lease) and we have separately signed a 500 year lease for clergy accommodation above. The lease arrangements with the London Diocesan Board for Schools to run the nursery are also at an advanced stage which will mean that the nursery will be linked directly to the nearby Holy Trinity Church of England School.

New worshipping community: Fr Andrew Williams assumed the position of Priest Missioner in the autumn of 2014 taking over from Fr Michael Bailey who led the early work. Fr Andrew Williams and the mission team of Andrew and Martina Kwapong have been making great strides both in developing a new worshipping community and reaching out to new and existing residents with community ministry work. Here are some highlights from their recent report:

  • The services are evolving with a growing regular congregation. Numbers have increased from a congregation of over twenty to regularly being over thirty (adults and children).
  • At Easter two adults were baptised and four confirmed at St Paul’s Cathedral, the first baptisms and confirmations for our new community.
  • At the end of July we will welcome some of the children to Holy Communion, and a number of those will also be baptised as a result of that course of study. Junior Church continues to be an important part of our life as a Church community.
  • Café Church once a month offers another pathway for local people to explore the church element of our community.
  • Our Christmas Eve service with dinner for over 35 people of St. Francis church has become a lovely tradition as well as our monthly bring and share lunches after church on Sundays.
  • More visiting and practical help has become part of what happens at our church. Examples include supporting an old homeless lady living under the bridge and helping the appropriate organisations to house her, supporting a young mum to be as she was moved from one B&B to another with few possessions or food to spare and then celebrating the arrival of her baby; while grieving and giving a listening ear to those who have lost loved ones
  • During the year we have offered study groups for development of faith. The Pilgrim course was offered as preparation for baptism and confirmation and for others who used it as a refresher for their faith. A Lent group was run using material from Biblica exploring the traditions of the bible.
  • The youth Xbus is now placed on Ferry Lane Estate each Wednesday and continues to see around 30 young people on weekly bases with more parents volunteering than a year ago.

Photograph 2: The Engine Room is our temporary centre which is busy 7 days a week:

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 Fitting out the new Church and community spaces: Construction of the shell and core of the building is progressing well – as can be seen in Photograph 3 below. Tenders have been invited for the fit-out works. The construction programme is still on plan, with centre fit-out expected to start in January 2016 and complete for opening in summer 2016. With your help we have raised £720,000 of our total fundraising target.

Conclusions: The Mayor of London has now declared Tottenham a Housing Zone so there will be an increased scale and pace of housing development around the centre leading to an estimated 5,500 new homes. The signposting in Hale Village already shows the building and we are confident that, with your generous help a very successful Church and community facility will be open next year enabling our Christian mission to be delivered in the heart of this new community.

Photograph 3: The new Church and community building under construction in Spring 2015:

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