Dreams becoming reality – a transformed building in Whetstone – September 2021

Oakleigh Community Church (OCC) in Whetstone, North London was planted nearly 20 years ago. In a time when there is widespread concern about dwindling congregations, this church is a real success story. Working in partnership with Church Growth Trust, they embarked on a building project which has doubled their auditorium capacity and helped them to continue to reach out into the community. OCC minister, Mike Pavlou, says: “We have been talking for many years about improving the building. As time went on, we outgrew the worship area and we wanted our church building to be more welcoming for our community. We prayed over it and waited on God, and started work at the end of September last year. CGT have been amazing, helping us to restructure our lease, giving us a grant and always being on hand to support and advise us. Building projects can be stressful, but CGT have bent over backwards to help and accommodate us. They bought into our vision, they are excited by it and wanted to see it happen.  Praise God!” 

Giles Arnold, CGT’s Chief Executive, has known Mike and the church since 2003. “We had a strong relationship from the start. After a number of years of planning, the final design was chosen. Working with Mike was a delight and our heart is always to work closely with the occupying church. We were happy to offer OCC a substantial grant from a property Trust, and to negotiate the lease to their advantage. The building is transformed and all those years of hard work have paid off.” 

The church now has a much larger auditorium and new kitchen facilities at the front of the building; a vital part of their vision. “The plan is to open up a community café which we hope will be very well-used. All our children’s and youth work is always over-subscribed, as are our holiday clubs, and we’ve got such a heart for children and families. We would love to see this new facility welcoming them in. The design includes new accessible toilets and a new heating system. Our old auditorium sat 100 people, but is now large enough to accommodate 200. The design allows it to be divided into two smaller halls for extra flexibility.”