Capital Vision 2020 goal hits half-way with 50th New Worshipping Community
On Sunday 29 April, the Diocese of London reached the half-way point of its Capital Vision 2020 goal to create 100 new worshipping communities in London. St Barnabas Kensington launched the 50th new worshipping community with French Connect. This is a weekly service in French to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of French-speaking people living in West London.
The Bishop of Kensington, the Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin, and the Bishop of Islington, the Rt Revd Ric Thorpe, both attended the first service of French Connect.
Bishop Ric’s role in the Diocese of London focuses on supporting church planting and the creation of new worshipping communities. He spoke about the Diocese’s Capital Vision target to create 100 new worshipping communities by 2020, saying at the launch:
“Five years ago, we set a goal to create 100 new worshipping communities by 2020. You are the 50th! You are part of something that is growing in London. We are seeing new services for new people starting across the capital, from the reopening of closed churches to the creation of new churches on estates or in schools and cafes. Wherever people are gathering, we want to provide a space where they can come and find out about faith in Christ. I’d love to encourage you to keep growing, reaching more and more French people with the good news of Jesus.”
Bishop Graham, as the Bishop of Kensington, added his congratulations to the team for the launch of French Connect. Speaking to the congregation in French, he said:
“I hope that many French-speaking people will come here and discover friendship, faith and joy. The simplest way to share your faith with your friends is by simply asking the question: ‘Would you like to come to church with me?’”
There are between 300,000 and 500,000 French-speaking people living in London, roughly the equivalent of the population of Bordeaux. Previously there have been only three French-speaking churches in Central London to serve this community, as well as a recent initiative that has been launched by Christ Church, another church in Kensington.
French Connect is led by the curate of St Barnabas, the Revd Jean-Luc Sergent and his wife Ginie, who are both from Paris. It will provide a space to welcome and to connect, in the words of the Revd Jean-Luc:
“Those from the French community with God, each other and themselves.”
The vicar of St Barnabas, the Revd Andy Buckler, is also a fluent French speaker, having spent 17 years with his family as a pastor and mission partner in France.
Over 80 people attended the launch and the service, predominately in French, saw different members of the congregation involved. Worship was led by two young French worship leaders, who are spending several months in London to help with the launch of French Connect, and the intercessions were also led by young French members of the launch team. As well as creating a service that is “joyeux and accueillant” (joyous and welcoming), French Connect also looks to become a hub to raise up and equip leaders to share their faith across the city and back in France, reflecting St Barnabas’ desire to play a part in the Church’s call to reach all nations with the gospel.
More information about the worshipping community can be found on the French Connect section of the St Barnabas website.
Photos by Rodycloud Photography.