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City of London listed church reopens after two-year carbon-neutral refit

31 July 2023

It is believed to be the first Grade I listed church in London to become carbon neutral


St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, in the City of London

St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, in the City of London

A GRADE I listed church in the City of London reopened last week, after a refit to make it carbon-neutral. The refurbished building is set to be shared by Anglican and Coptic Orthodox congregations.

Since St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe closed at the end of 2021, its refurbishment has involved the installation of energy-saving technology, such as air-source heat pumps, new roof insulation, and LED lighting.

The church is believed to be the first Grade I listed church in London to become carbon-neutral.

ST-ANDREW-BY-THE-WARDROBEChoral evensong at St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, on Wednesday of last week

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, and the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, attended a choral evensong on Wednesday of last week to celebrate the reopening of the church.

“As stewards of God’s creation, we have a fundamental responsibility to act sustainably and protect the world we live in,” Bishop Mullally said. “I am thrilled that St Andrew’s is leading the way in showing us an example by which we should all strive to follow.”

About seven per cent of churches around the country are already carbon-neutral (Features, 4 November 2022), and, in July, a General Synod resolution urged the Church of England at all levels to take action on climate change (News, 14 July).

The Coptic Orthodox Archbishop Angaelos of London also attended the service. He spoke of his delight at an arrangement that meant that the church would become the new London headquarters of his Church, besides continuing to serve its Anglican congregation.

“When we first embarked on this partnership, it was never expected to reach the scale which it has,” he said. “Having the 2000-year-old Church of Egypt now finding a home in a 1000-year-old iconic church in the heart of London speaks of the breadth of the Church in our current era. Our vision is that this not only becomes a place of worship for the Coptic Orthodox Community, but a space through which it serves London in all its breadth and diversity.”

The Archdeacon of London, the Ven. Luke Miller, who is the Rector of St-Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, said that it was a church that had “assumed many guises”.

It is sited near Blackfriars Bridge, and references to the church can be found almost 1000 years ago. The core of the current building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and to replace the building destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

It was further damaged during the Blitz, and renovated in 1961, but Archdeacon Miller said that, in recent years, it had “become unfit for purpose, with the electrical system about to be condemned putting the church at risk of closure.

“It’s been a true privilege to oversee the third regeneration of an irreplaceable part of the City’s rich tapestry, and I am so excited to see worshipers welcomed through St Andrew’s doors once more.”

The church’s name refers to its proximity to the Royal Wardrobe of Edward III, where clothes and other regalia were kept. This, too, was destroyed in the fire of 1666.

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