Local church wins newcomers over with ‘open’ approach

Baptist church sees attendance rise defying London trends (Photo: Dina Aboughazala)

The New River Baptist Church says it has seen a growth in the number of people attending its Sunday service despite official statistics showing a decline in religious interest among Islington residents.

The family pastor at the church, Cecilia Plummer, says: “We have seen more people coming to Church. We had a growth in the number of people coming on a Sunday, which is very exciting.”

“We’ve got around 50 adults and about 25 kids on a Sunday.”

This is owing to what Ms Plummer describes as their effort to be “an open church” to the community.

In addition to the Sunday service, the church runs English conversation classes, after school clubs and stay-and-play sessions for parents and children. These are open to everyone.  

Mother of three Victoria Baker has been using the stay-and-play sessions for three years and describes them as “one of her favourite because they are quite relaxed”.

“You don’t have to want to explore Christianity to be part of it. But what happened is that… because we are a church people started asking questions and just this autumn we started running ‘Exploring Christianity’ sessions,” Ms Plummer says.

The 2018 State of Equalities Report in Islington indicated a rise in the number of local residents who identify themselves as without religion to 41%.