Roots Down, Branches Out

We are a diverse congregation of approximately 300 adults and 100 children with strong lay leadership support. Over the last ten years we have grown in number through the introduction of new services, the development of lay leaders, a renewed focus on welcome, discipleship and pastoral care and partnering with Islington Council on the delivery of a number of social projects as we serve our local community. Our motto is “roots down, branches out” reflecting our desire to mature in faith, not as an end in itself, but in order to reach out and engage our communities with the love of Christ.

“Roots down” has been about developing appropriate models of discipleship and pastoral care. This recognises different stages of faith among members of the congregation and the reality of busy lives in urban London. Apart from Sunday services we run nurture courses, encourage participation in small groups, offer soul friending and have recently completed a yearlong discipleship initiative encouraging the congregation to develop a ‘rule of life’ for themselves. Our services seek to cater for the whole range of age groups and tastes. In all the above, including the occasional offices, we seek to do the ordinary things well.

“Branches out” involves proclaiming the love of Christ in all that we do. We recognise that “God so loved the world” not just the church, and so we have tried to help people look outwards, to discover the ‘common good’ and to affirm wherever God is at work in the community. We have close links to our historic church school (St John’s Highbury Vale), we run a pre-school playgroup, a parent and toddler group, a popular Friday night youth club and the church is used by rainbows and brownies, a children’s choir (Highbury Young Singers) and many other children’s groups. We provide a winter nightshelter for the homeless, regular ‘open church’ events and we work in partnership with Islington council to develop our community engagement through an initiative called “Help on your doorstep” signposting people in need to relevant services. We are signed up members of Citizens UK.