In July 2020 we submitted updated proposals for our #LoveHoxton redevelopment to the Hackney Council planning department and also to the Diocese of London committee responsible for church building developments. We’re currently waiting for feedback from both bodies, and we would love your prayers as these two different planning groups consider our proposals and offer comment and feedback.
The #LoveHoxton project is an ambitious missional proposal to try and demonstrate that a Church of England church can undertake conservation and development in a manner that promotes church growth and the common good.
At the heart of the project is the commitment to create a new genuinely affordable housing development for local people. We’re committed to these homes being set at the London Living Rent - and for that reason we’re not working with any private housing developers. We’ll be seeking partnerships and investments only from people who are committed to this vision.
The proposals also create additional community benefit by increasing the teaching and learning space of the local primary school by expanding the playground, creating a new sports / assembly hall, and providing an early years nursery setting.
In addition, the proposal seek to undertake the necessary conservation works to ensure the historic Grade II* listed building has a viable future. This includes fabric repairs, and improvements to the space and facilities to support income generation which in turn fund the mission and ministry of the local church.
The architecture of the buildings is not particularly complex - but the architecture of the project is! It’s a bold vision to show that the kingdom of God expressed through the mission of the local church is not just for Christians - but for everyone who lives in a neighbourhood.
Church Growth & The Common Good
We’re delighted to have been a case study in the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Commission on Church, Housing & Community - we hope that our project will demonstrate possibilities for other church communities up and down the length and breadth of our country.
At the heart of our vision is the conviction that we should be pursuing BOTH church growth AND the common good. Some models of church revitalisation depend on realising as much cash as possible from the land assets of the church - partnering with private housing developers. In doing so, though they may be able to refurbish churches and fund mission and ministry, they do so while contributing to the commodification of housing and perpetuating the affordable housing crisis.
We’re working with the Centre for Theology & Community and Citizens UK to try to demonstrate that the local action we take on social justice issues and the common good can actually lead to church growth. We have contributed to the forthcoming GRACE Project report (Theos / Church Urban Fund) which explores churches seeking to hold together a commitment to discipleship, evangelism and social justice issues.
We hope to demonstrate the mission of the church in Hoxton, and our love of our local community, by ‘seeking the peace / welfare / flourishing’ of our neighbourhood (Jer 29:4-7).
Please read more about the proposals here. We would welcome your prayers for this bold, ambitious vision to become a reality!