New Vicar for St Mary’s Islington
The Revd James Hughesdon will be the next Vicar of St Mary’s Islington, the historic parish church of Islington.
Ordained in 2012, James is currently Vicar of St Paul Old Ford in the East End of London, first joining in 2012 and then becoming Vicar in 2015. James leaves St Paul’s in a position of great strength having helped grow the regular Sunday congregation to around 150 and forged new relationships with the local community.
At St Paul’s he has helped oversee the formation of St Columba, a thriving new worshipping community that now calls a specially-commissioned boat – called Genesis – its home, on the banks of the River Lee Navigation in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. St Columba is led by the Revd Dave Pilkington, who served his curacy under James at St Paul’s.
St Mary’s has been a key fixture in the social fabric of Islington since the first recorded church building was constructed in the 12th century. The church, the fifth to inhabit the site on Upper Street, is known for its extensive portico of Portland stone and spire, a local landmark.
The church was nearly completely destroyed on the third night of the London Blitz in 1940. The church, including the 5,000m3 of worship space, was restored following the war. More recently, St Mary’s crypt was restored to provide additional space for worship and community meetings.
James and his wife, Caz, who works as a nurse, and their three children will move to the parish from their current home in East London in the coming months. The date of James’ installation and start date is still to be confirmed but it is likely to be in January.
The Revd James Hughesdon, Vicar of St Mary’s Islington, said:
“I am honoured and delighted to be appointed Vicar of St Mary’s, Islington. St Mary’s is one of the Church of England’s most historic and thriving parishes, so it is a privilege to be given the responsibility of guiding it through its next phase of life.
“Caz, the family and I are very much looking forward to being part of St Mary’s and the community in Islington and are excited to discover what God is doing there now and will do in the future. We ask for your prayers as we finish at our current church and move to Islington.”
Nick Sykes, Churchwarden at St Mary’s Islington, said:
“We are delighted that James has been appointed to be the new vicar of St Mary’s. We look forward very much to welcoming him, his wife Caz and their three children into our church family. And we are excited to discern with him God’s fresh vision for both the church and wider community at Islington’s heart.”
The Revd Paul Zaphiriou, Vicar at Hope Church Islington and Islington Area Dean, said:
“I am thrilled that the people of St Mary’s Islington will be welcoming James Hughesdon as their new vicar after what has been a very long interregnum. St Mary’s is a Christian beacon in this borough, with deep historical roots and a long tradition of founding and fostering new worshipping communities. James is enthusiastic, engaging, perceptive, prayerful and missional and under his leadership we anticipate a fruitful and exciting new season for this great church. As he and his family move from Tower Hamlets to Islington they will receive the warmest of welcomes from all colleagues in this Deanery.”
The Rt Revd Dr Joanne Grenfell, Bishop of Stepney, said:
“James has been an inspiring leader at St Paul’s, including working with the team which has brought about the new Genesis floating church. He was a clear choice to take the reins at St Mary’s, bringing particular gifts around social enterprise and outreach, and developing discipleship in innovative ways among new Christians. I pray that James, his wife Caz and their three children will know God’s blessings as they make the move to Islington to join the community at St Mary’s. We expect to announce shortly a date for a service of collation and induction in early 2021.”