Floating church

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 arrive at its new home in the Olympic Park by July 2019 and will be open to the public later in the year.

The vessel’s innovative design, which takes inspiration from church organ bellows, has been submitted to the New London Architecture Awards taking place 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.

“It was great to be able to visit St Mary of Eton and learn about the Diocese’s plans for a new floating church and community hub. I (have known Sue Makin for many years, and) think the project has the potential to provide an important community hub for Hackney and the Olympic Park. The designs are really interesting – creating a local landmark.” Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch

Photos courtesy of Denizen Works.