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‘New patterns’ for Cornhill church

13 January 2017


Facing challenges: St Michael’s, Cornhill, London

Facing challenges: St Michael’s, Cornhill, London

A NEW life for St Michael’s, Cornhill, has been sketched by the Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller, after an article in The Times warned that it was “on the verge of bankruptcy”.

This week, Archdeacon Miller denied that the church, a Grade I listed building designed in part by Christopher Wren, was bankrupt, but admitted that it faced “budget challenges. . . There is more money going out than coming in.”

The report in The Times , which appeared in November, was headlined: “‘Bankrupt’ church in Square Mile starts praying for a miracle”.

There would be no “outward change” at the church until after Easter: services would continue as usual, Archdeacon Miller said. After Easter, the diocese and others would be consulting on potential “new patterns”, but “the idea is that choral liturgical services will continue to find a place in the life of St Michael’s.” There was also a desire to maintain the church’s civic life.

The church, in the City of London, where the resident population is small, needed to respond to changing patterns of life and demographics, he said. “It might be that more people using the building in more ways will bring in more resources, and enable us to ensure things are properly funded.” He gave the example of the City’s “burgeoning Anglican Mandarin-speaking congregations”, and the 35,000 people working in a new tower block constructed in the parish. At St Nicholas Cole Abbey, Sunday-morning services had recently been revived after more than 20 years.

“One of the things about the City of London is the speed of change, and the need or us to be fleet of foot in seizing opportunities,” he said. “St Michael’s is very much a part of that.”

The Rector of St Michael’s, Cornhill, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, resigned on 31 December. He will remain an Honorary Assistant Bishop in the diocese of London, and is discussing his future with the diocese.

“I personally hope very much that they can make possible the continuing of Sunday worship and weekday worship where possible,” he said this week. Since arriving at the church in 2014, he had confirmed 12 people from the parish, and will confirm another on Sunday.

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