The Diocese of London is building a church and community hub on a barge to be moored at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Hackney Wick.
The Floating Church will be run in partnership between St Paul Old Ford and St Mary of Eton, and will welcome people of all faiths and none. Its use will be divided between worship and community activities with some commercial activities providing an income.
One day per week it will be home to a local disability group. At other times it will be an additional classroom for two local schools and a performance space for youth theatre groups.
Construction of the barge’s steel hull is now complete and the internal fitting has begun. It is expected that the vessel will be open to the public later in 2020.
The vessel’s innovative design, which takes inspiration from church organ bellows, was submitted to the New London Architecture Awards in July 2019.
Within five years, it is hoped that the community generated by the church will find a permanent base nearby, allowing the barge to float off to provide a spiritual and social catalyst in another part of London. Allchurches Trust has given £10,000 and looks forward to getting aboard.