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Tottenham riot area to have a new church

03 August 2012

THE diocese of London is planning to establish a church in a new development in Tottenham, where last summer's riots broke out (News, 12 August 2011).

The Bishop of Edmonton, the Rt Revd Peter Wheatley, intends to establish a Bishop's Mission Order under which the church will operate in Hale Village, a new regeneration development. It is situated on a former industrial site, opposite the Ferry Lane Estate, where Mark Duggan was shot by police last year. A priest will be appointed to lead the church.

The plans for the new church have been drawn up by a steering group, which is chaired by Bishop Wheat­ley, and comprises local clergy; the Archdeacon of Hampstead, the Ven. Luke Miller; and the head of strategic development for London diocese, Matthew Girt.

The diocese has negotiated with the London borough of Haringey, and Lee Valley Estates, the land-owners, to construct a new building in Hale Village. Work on the building is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. An interim church and community centre will open in October this year.

A missioner for London City Mission (LCM), and his wife, have begun outreach work in Hale Village, after London diocese signed a partnership agreement with LCM.

Mr Girt said that the new church would not be a church plant, where "people come in from another church, or several churches. . . This is the establishment of a new church . . . will] build community and . . . build church at the same time".

He said that the plans were drawn up before the riots, but "if we hadn't planned to do it before the riots, we would be running around trying to work out how to do it now."

The initiative had not been "planted from outside" by the diocese, he said, but was "locally grown" by churches in the area. The congregations of St Anne's, Totten­ham; Holy Trinity, Tottenham; and St Mary the Virgin, Lansdowne Road, had been "engaged from day one".

On Sunday, a "service of peace" will be held at All Saints', Peckham, almost a year after a similar service was held in the wake of the riots.

The chief executive of the Chris­tian charity XLP, Patrick Regan, will speak at the service. He said: "The service this year will continue to pray for peace, but we will also look at ways [that] we as individuals and organisations can bring hope for the future to our communities and young people - giving them something to live for.

"If your life is shaped only by a combination of poverty, poor hous­ing, family breakdown, educational failure, crime, gangs, and un­employment, then you can easily see why young people lose any hope for the future. This is why some people have written off this genera­tion. However, I refuse to believe this is a lost generation."

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