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/ 13 December 2013

Tottenham Hale’s Engine Room community space celebrates its first Advent

The new worshipping community at Hale Village in Tottenham has come together to officially welcome Fr Michael Bailey, who was licensed as Priest Missioner by the Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley.

The celebration came as the Hale Village interim community centre and worship space, The Engine Room, celebrated its first Advent with an arts and craft market and Christmas Fayre that brought the whole community together in celebration of the Engine Room’s landmark first six months.

Fr Michael, who joined the team at the Engine Room in September, was previously a curate in Coventry and worked as a cancer nurse specialist at the Royal Marsden before joining the clergy. Fr Michael joins Martina and Andrew Kwapong, the two London City Mission community workers at the Engine Room, who have been working since its opening in July to get to know local residents in the new Hale Village Estate and support the community with events at the local primary school, pop-up cafés, and partnerships with local charities.

Fr Michael Bailey, newly licensed Priest Missioner at Hale Village, said:

"It is a great privilege to be here sharing in Christ’s mission. Worshipping God, making new disciples and helping to shape and build a new community."

The craft market and Christmas Fayre was just the latest event the team have run to establish the presence of the Engine Room in the new community of Hale Village. Over 200 local residents joined the festivities, which include a lantern parade and the switching on of Hale Village’s Christmas lights as well as local arts and crafts stalls, carols, a business advice stand and a collection of food donations for Christmas parcels. The event was a living example of the ethos of Capital Vision 2020 – the Diocese of London’s vision for the next seven years – which commits the Diocese to serve the capital ways that are confident, compassionate and creative.

Martina Kwapong, one of the London City Mission community workers at the Engine Room, commented:

"People here in Hale Village and Ferry Lane Estate are very keen to get involved in their community and let others know about the good things that are happening in Tottenham. With all that we plan and do here we do it with Christ in the centre drawing people closer to Him and to each other."

The new Hale Village development in Tottenham Hale will see accommodation developed for 16,000 new residents over the next 10-15 years on the boundaries of St Mary’s and Holy Trinity Tottenham. The Diocese of London, in partnership with London City Mission, the Church Commissioners, the Mercers’ Company and with the support of generous individual donors, has established a church presence within the estate to serve the new community as it grows and to ensure that strong links are built with the established neighbouring communities such as the Ferry Lane estate.

Present at the licensing was the Revd Alan McCormack whose church, St Botolph’s Bishopsgate in the City of London, is part of the partnership. A mutual sharing of resources and help will mean that two very different parts of the Diocese of London are working together.

The Engine Room is the interim centre that is hosting worship and community activities until a permanent centre at Hale Village is built in 2016. It was officially opened by the Bishop of Edmonton in July, witnessed by representatives of the organisations and partners in the project including the Rt Hon David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, and members of the local council.

The Engine Room hosts events, classes and drop-ins for local people throughout the week. Its activities include knitting clubs, homework groups and film evenings, with provision for healthcare clinics, language classes and training courses. The flexible space of the Engine Room also provides the venue for the new church to meet, with Mass, family church, prayer meetings and bible study establishing themselves in the daily rhythm of this new community.

The permanent centre, opening in 2016, will provide much better space for the activities of the Engine Room community centre as well as a home for the growing church family, with a sanctuary and main hall, as well as a church office. There will also be a community café, a flexible area for meetings or activities and a 26-place day nursery.

The Hale Village project is the culmination of over three years of negotiation and planning, collaborating with developers, estates management, housing associations and local authorities. It is hoped that the process will form a blueprint for similar projects across the Diocese of London in the future.

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