Tottenham Hale celebrates St Francis Church opening
The people of Tottenham celebrated the opening of St Francis Church, Tottenham Hale as the new building was handed over to the congregation, and dedicated by the Bishop of Edmonton.
St Francis at the Engine Room is the first new, purpose-built church in the Capital in forty years. Led by Fr Andrew Williams, St Francis will provide a permanent home to the flourishing Christian community living in Tottenham Hale, who for the last few years have been based at the old Engine Room community centre.
Established in 2013, St Francis at the Engine Room has provided not only a place of worship, but has also allowed the congregation to grow to play an important role at the heart of Tottenham Hale life, and make their mark by hosting regular activities, including pop up cafés and the Make Lunch project, which is designed to tackle food poverty in the area.
Other initiatives led by the St Francis team and which have since become a staple of community life include ReACT, a performing acts workshop staged every spring for young people who attend local schools, and the annual Hale Village Summer Festival, which brings together businesses, residents and partners from across the community in a celebration of the local area.
The new church and Engine Room building will allow the St Francis congregation to play an even bigger role in supporting Tottenham Hale. The new in-house bakery and café, run by local pizzeria Loven Presents, will provide a vibrant social hub for the whole community, while the recently opened 36 place nursery will give support to the many young families living in Tottenham Hale.
The Church’s dedication was led by the Rt Revd Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton. The Bishop met members of the congregation and the community, before blessing the new church with rosemary, grown by a local allotment project. He then knocked on the door with his Bishop’s crozier, before being welcomed inside into the church by Jeremy Hickman, Manager of Hale Village, symbolising the handover of the building from Hale Village to the Diocese of London.
Also in attendance at the dedication were: David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, Cllr Liz McShane, Deputy Mayor for Haringey, Mike Hinch, CEO of Newlon Housing Trust and Graham Miller, Director of London City Mission who have partnered with the Diocese in establishing the new community.
Fr Andrew Williams said:
“It was an immense privilege to see St Francis Church and Community Centre finally opened to the public. The dedication was the culmination of many years of hard effort by countless individuals, and it is our task now to ensure that St Francis can build on the work already begun to support and uplift the residents living in Tottenham Hale.”
Andrew Kwapong, Church Community Worker at St Francis Church said:
“St Francis is a young church but a vibrant one. Our goal as a community is to bring people together and unlock their potential for giving back to others. The Engine Room had helped us bring this vision to life, and now our new church and facilities will allow us to continue the good work, and deliver for the whole area.”
The Rt Revd Rob Wickham, Bishop of Edmonton, said:
“The dedication of St Francis Church is an important milestone, as we creatively serve the diverse and ever changing population of London. We long for human flourishing, and St Francis is our response to the liveability needs of Tottenham Hale. At its root we see a confident series of partnerships, which ultimately will lead to a stronger and more compassionate community, with Jesus, the ultimate builder, at the heart.”
The Grand Opening of the new Engine Room will take place on 21st November.
Photos credited to David Tothill.