Why we're opening our church


There are four big reasons why we're opening our church through the day:
  • People need somewhere to pause, reflect and pray. Upper Street's got almost everything, yet the chance to stay still, to breathe deeply and to find yourself connected to something bigger than you is rare.
  • Jesus said, "Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." That sounds so good to us. Like everyone else, we get carried away with our projects, plans, hopes and fears. We recognise our need to let go of our load and trust it to God. We think we should make it possible for other people to do the same.
  • We trust people to respect a hallowed space, a place that's been sacred to generations for centuries.
  • Our church holds the stories of Islington. From its beginnings a thousand years ago, it's seen hard times and joyous times. It's a place of baptisms, weddings, funerals. Of passionate commitments. Of unspoken longing. We're letting people in to see where their forebears lived, loved, laughed and cried.
The church of St Mary was open to the public for nine hundred years. About a hundred years ago the doors were kept locked, except when we were ready to let people in for worship. This may have been out of an understandable sense of responsibility and caution. Now, through events such as our Soul in the City festivals, we're learning to live in more faithful engagement. We've learned more about the desire and hope for an open church:
  • Our parish wants it open. We've listened to Islington and we've heard a clear message. The borough does not want the church to close its doors to everyone apart from regular members.
  • Our insurers want it open. They tell us that an unlocked church is significantly safer than one that is locked.
  • Our bishop and archdeacon want it open. It's a sign of the Confident, Compassionate and Creative church that is London Diocese. See Capital Vision 2020 for more details.
  • Our church community wants it open. Although we pay for its considerable running costs, we believe that St Mary's isn't just our church. It's Islington's church.
The church is open to the public without charge every day, from 9.30am to 4.00pm, except in certain special circumstances. See our church calendar for further details.