Prince Charles visits Camden Churches
Accompanied by the Bishop of London, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to inner-city churches in London to meet clergy and celebrate the transformative work of churches in the community.
The Prince visits churches that have benefitted the district, whether that be through boosting congregation numbers or engaging with the local neighborhood.
Prince Charles was joined on his visit by the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres. The Prince began his afternoon at St Mary’s in Somers Town. Here, he and the Duchess of Cornwall met Father Simon Morris, Vicar of St Mary’s Lansdowne Road, Tottenham, who took them to Kemble Hall to speak with local business leaders and residents. Following a challenging time for Tottenham in the wake of the riots, Father Morris explained:
"The hospitality of the parish in the immediate aftermath of the riots spoke to many of the love of God. For all the people of Tottenham – irrespective of faith – a strong parish means a better place to live".
This was followed by a visit to St Michael’s Church, Camden Town to meet members of the local community and the Parish Priest, the Revd Phillip North. The Prince later met people benefiting from community projects supported by St Michael’s, and Fr Phillip said the Prince was equally at home when meeting school children, the elderly and the homeless.
In recent years the church, which a decade ago was almost derelict, has become renowned for its work helping homeless people in Camden. It has worked with the scheme C4WS, which helps get people off the streets, as well as in partnership with Jobs In Mind, a charity that helps mentally ill people back into work.
Fr Phillip said:
"It’s so important in London because of the huge wealth divide and the large number of people living very vulnerable lives. We’ve got to be out and about otherwise we’re living a lie."
At St Silas Church, Kentish Town, the Prince was greeted by Father Graeme Rowlands and members of the congregation who explained how the church serves the local community. Since taking up the post in 1989, Father Rowlands has increased congregation numbers from four to more than a hundred. Prince Charles was entertained by a performance of the choirs of Holy Trinity and St Silas School, and then later shared tea and biscuits with a 99-year-old parishioner at her home nearby in Kentish Town. The royal visit was enjoyed by the church and its members especially as it celebrate its centenary this year.
The day ended with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall returning to St Michael’s Church in Camden to attend a service to celebrate Candlemas.
Commenting on the visit, the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, said:
"This is just one of a series of visits the Prince has made just to see what the grassroots reality is in parts of London which very often hit the headlines for very different reasons. "People are working away year after year in places like this, where very often where we were 10, 20 years ago was tiny congregations and complete demoralisation – so the Prince’s visit recognises how much has been achieved."