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Creative partnership with the Sinai Mar Thoma Church of North London
The Bishop of Willesden, Pete Broadbent, has signed an agreement with the Right Revd Dr Geevarghese Mar Theodosius, Bishop of the Diocese of North America and Europe in the Mar Thoma Church, to work in a creative partnership with the Sinai Mar Thoma church of North London.
The Mar Thoma Church is a Syrian Christian church headquartered the state of Kerala, India, with followers across the globe. Traditionally believed to have been founded by Saint Thomas (Mar Thoma), in the year AD52, the church is one of the oldest denominations of Christianity.
The clergy of All Saints Harrow Weald, James Mercer and Peter Ward and the Revd Dr Thomas Philips of the Mar Thoma Church attended the signing. As part of the partnership, the churches have already held joint acts of worship and continue to explore opportunities for shared outreach and collaboration in mission action planning.
Bishop Pete said:
“We are already in full communion with the Mar Thoma Church, but it’s great to cement that relationship with them and for one of our parishes to commit themselves to work hard on even closer relationships. Thanks to the people of All Saints’ Harrow Weald for taking this seriously.”
The Revd James Mercer, Vicar of All Saints’, Harrow Weald, commented:
“It is a real blessing for us at All Saints’ to be able to work and pray with such a creative and committed fellowship. Our shared acts of worship have been very exciting and colourful and the post-service curries are to die for!”
The Revd Dr Thomas Philip, Vicar of Sinai Mar Thoma church, commented:
“We welcome the opportunity that our new partnership with All Saints’ offers to build friendship and trust across ethnic communities. We look forward to exploring what it will mean for us to be a recognised parish within the Diocese of London and sharing in the adventure of mission.”
All Saints’ work is a key example of the Diocese of London’s Capital Vision 2020 of serving local communities in a way that is ‘confident, compassionate and creative’. The innovative community work of the church was praised by the thinktank ResPublica in its report Holistic Mission: Social action and the Church of England in 2013.
The church is currently undertaking a major reordering of its iconic Butterfield church building (the All Saints’ Serving Harrow or ‘ASSH’ project). Fundraising has begun to enable the church to install a biofuel boiler and underfloor heating and to replace the 1950’s vestry block, which has reached the end of its usable life, with additional community accessible space and an outdoor classroom to serve the on-site Forest School. The project also seeks to enhance the church’s built heritage and includes measures to lessen the carbon footprint of the church campus, in line with the diocesan Shrinking the Footprint environmental campaign.