Oakleigh Community Church (OCC) has a vision to become the main community hub for their North London village of Whetstone.
With the help of Church Growth Trust (CGT), the church plans to extend its current building to accommodate a welcoming community café and build a larger hall for members.
OCC is a community congregation of the large local C of E church – St Barnabas – and it has outgrown its main hall, which is now too small to accommodate everyone meeting together on Sundays.
Revd Mike Pavlou, minister at OCC, states: “We realised about 4-5 years ago we were outgrowing the building and needed a bigger auditorium as well as additional auxiliary halls and office space.” The church has around 160 meeting on Sundays and use the building for community programmes and private hire throughout the week, especially for youth work.
The congregation is mainly working class and very multi-cultural. The building, owned by Church Growth Trust, was originally two separate brick buildings and has been added to several times over the years to serve OCC’s outreach opportunities.
“We added some temporary buildings to the rear and side of the building about 10 years ago and refurbished some of the interior six years ago. We are currently looking at extending again or the possibility of knocking the building down, for a complete rebuild,” says Mike. OCC appointed a planning consultant who helped them select architects and develop their brief in more detail. Mike continues: “We realised we needed help from the beginning, because this is all new to us. Church Growth Trust are helping us financially, with architects and professional advice in dealing with the complexities that these projects can present. It gives us a real sense of assurance that we have their experience and expertise behind us.”
Church Growth Trust’s architect Gill Pedler provided a sketch scheme as part of the appointment process, based on a simple initial brief. “We had ideas for a community café at the front of the building providing a more open and welcoming entrance and a larger hall to the rear,” Gill says.
When all the possibilities have been explored, CGT will help Oakleigh to determine costs and see what they might or might not be able to do.
“It is our hope that we will have the facilities to move the church and its outreach and community use to the next level,” said Mike.
Mike has this advice for churches seeking to expand or repurpose their buildings: “Seek the best advice you can get and go for as much space as you can. Don’t just build for today but build with faith for future growth as well.”
It is our hope that we will have the facilities to move the church and its outreach and community use to the next level,
Revd Mike Pavlou