The Heart of Islington


It started when...

we realised that instead of an enormous list of little problems with our church buildings we had one very large opportunity.

Take a step back. Look beyond the overgrown gardens between the deteriorating portico and the grubby entrance to the neighbourhood centre. Look at the great work that happens here. Look at the growing worshipping community that sings and speaks of God who cares about the welfare of the city.

We began to see the connections.

And we listened.

We heard from Islington neighbours how our annual Soul in the City festival brings together the diverse population in a precious celebration. People told us about the way that meeting in our community spaces changes lives. And when we looked deep into our archives, we read that this place is really the Heart of Islington.

Long ago, the hilltop on which our church now stands was Gisela's Don. That Saxon landowner bequeathed his name to the proud borough - Gisela's Don became Isledon, then Islington.

For over a thousand years this has been a place of extraordinary encounter and history-making.

The Heart of Islington Project, in partnership with Islington Council and other key stakeholders, will enhance the beautiful St Mary's Church Gardens. We're raising further funding to redecorate and improve the wonderfully bright interior of St Mary's, a rare example of 1950's church architecture, to the glory for which it was conceived. And we're putting right a whole list of problems, from leaking gutters to a fragile stonework. We don't want Islington's first church to remain on the national Heritage at Risk Register. We want it to serve God and neighbour for a long time to come.

Having done some key work to the roof and spire, we’re now focussing on the portico. It has long been a place of welcome and shelter but severe corrosion to the inner structure now means it must be taken apart and rebuilt by specialists.


We’re grateful to donors who’ve helped us so far and we'll be looking for further partners to help us close the gap between the £1.4 million that we've secured so far and the total project cost of around £2 million that we need.

For more information on how to get involved, send us an email to

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We're delighted to acknowledge the generous grants made towards this work.