In September 2015, after a collective from St John’s Hoxton felt the need to create an evening congregation, Sanctuary Hoxton was born. With a desire to create an authentic and welcoming community, a forum for open and relevant discussion and a desire to engage with current culture, Sanctuary is attracting a group of young professionals seeking community in the Hoxton area.
“Our heart and vision is to ‘bring the walls down’ between the church and the rest of the community – particularly for creatives and young adults, living in and around Hoxton.”
— Jono Tyrell, Sanctuary Leader
Part of the vision of Sanctuary is to engage with the people of Hoxton through three cultural focal points – the arts, sports and social justice. In December 2016, Sanctuary launched a new initiative of monthly gig nights – a space open for regular churchgoers and visitors alike.
Jono comments further:
“We’re really keen for our events to be opened up to all and to have a genuine mix of regular church-goers and those who don’t go to church meeting together in a beautiful space and finding a place they can feel at home and be part of a family.”
The engagement with the arts reaches farther than just gig nights, with plans to host quarterly street arts markets for the community, and hopes to grow relationships with UAL students many of whom live just around the corner from St John’s in Student Housing. The first Arts market will be on 22 April 2017.
The team’s vision is to bring people together who might usually do sports alone. Perhaps doing circuits at the park, or for those who go to the gym or running alone. There’s a vision within Sanctuary to bring people together, to do sports communally. Using the space at St John’s, there are hopes to host classes and sports clubs for those in and around the area to come together and build community whilst doing something they would normally do on their own.
Sunday evenings – Sanctuary’s main gathering time, are full of new ideas and exciting ways to ‘do church.’ Although always featuring a form of worship and some input from Scripture, the set-up is varied. Five minutes at the start of each service is spent reflecting on an issue or situation that highlights God’s heart for transforming the world, from practical changes like using a bamboo toothbrush, to praying for political unrest in other countries.
Each month a specific issue – during February it’s ‘Overcoming Fear’ – is looked at through four different lenses: a societal trend, something like a TED talk (a short power talk); a social justice story; a film or pop song; and a more in-depth biblical exegesis. The plan is to open up a framework that encourages people to be taught by the Holy Spirit throughout the week, as well as on a Sunday. Alongside their open Sunday evening gatherings, Sanctuary also gathers as a small group midweek to go deeper in Scripture.
This is an exciting new worshipping community in London, seeking out new ways to welcome in those who might not otherwise step into a church. Through their community activities and open church gatherings, Sanctuary is growing as a vibrant and culturally relevant community bringing people in the heart of London nearer to the heart of Jesus.
Find out more about Sanctuary on their website, or sign up to our Creatives Network E-Newsletter to keep informed about their monthly gig nights, and a whole range of other creative events in London.