Church family, Tottenham

Our PAs in Tottenham are based in the parishes of St Mary the Virgin and St Benet Fink. Tottenham is a vibrant, exciting and challenging part of North London and both our parishes have busy social, pastoral and liturgical lives, as well as great, welcoming congregations. The clergy in Tottenham are Fr Simon Morris at St Mary’s and Fr James Hill at St Benet Fink.

Our Pastoral Assistants this year are:

  • Chino Ogali
  • Mark Patrick

St Mary’s Tottenham

St Mary’s reflects much of the diversity and energy of the local area. The worshipping congregations are made up roughly in equal proportions of African, Caribbean and White (British and other) people.

The parish is in the Catholic tradition of the Church of England, Resolutions A and B having been passed by the PCC. While in many senses ‘traditional,’ the worship is also lively and thoroughly enjoyed by the people who come. A newly formed adult choir, composed of members of the congregation, has been received with much warmth.

S. Mary’s has an average Sunday attendance of 200. At the parish church, there is a weekly lunch club; we form part of the Haringey Churches Winter Night Shelter; there is a 55 strong Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Association for the under 18s; and two weekly Sunday Schools. The prayer life is composed of daily Mass, most offices are said publicly and the rosary is recited each week. The Society of Mary and the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham meet regularly, as does the Mothers’ Union.

The Good Shepherd was re-opened for Sunday worship in September 2010, having been out of use as such for seventy-two years. It is half a mile from S. Mary’s and has a very intimate feel. It now has two Masses each week, a lunch club, its own company of the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Association, and a Sunday congregation of 25.

The riots of August 2011 were very much on our doorstep. The parish responded by opening its doors and sees this as part of its tradition of hospitality. Local community and church primary schools are often welcomed to S. Mary’s for visits and two weekly assemblies are held in a nearby community school. Fr Morris is on the governors of a further community school. The parish is also very involved with the new development occurring at Tottenham Hale, where six thousand new souls are beginning to move in and make their home. A new Church is to be built there within a Bishop’s Mission Order, part of which will affect our parish. It is an exciting venture, which will take shape over the next twelve months.

The pastoral assistants for here and S. Benet’s Tottenham both live in the S. Mary’s Vicarage. They have a room each on the second floor, which also has two private communal areas contained therein. They have their own kitchen on the ground floor and quite a sense of ‘their own space’.

The parish is bustling with activity and provides a great opportunity for someone to come and walk with us as we seek to be fruitful disciples and to proclaim the historic faith in all its vibrancy. Fr Morris has been the Vicar of the parish since September 2011, having served his curacy here for the three previous years. He trained at S. Stephen’s House, Oxford, where he read for the BA in theology before ordination.

St Mary’s website:

St Benet Fink

St Benet’s parish is set between the main centres of Tottenham and Wood Green. It is a largely residential parish and borders the Broadwater Farm Estate. The parish is both economically and socially deprived, the majority of the residents occupying social housing. This means that there is a high level of movement, with the population of the parish turning over by up to 40% each year.

St Benet’s is firmly rooted in the catholic tradition of the Church of England, valuing the riches and variety of liturgy and music, including the use of multimedia and contemporary worship music at our evening Mass 5 @ Fink’s, at which our Pastoral Assistant has had the opportunity to preach. We are keen to grow both numerically and in our own discipleship: we have regular Bible studies, courses and social activities to nourish both body and soul.

Through the work of our Pastoral Assistant we have been able to set up a weekly lunch club for the elderly, as well as begin an exciting and popular new venture Evensong and Curry which features traditional Evensong sung by a professional choir sponsored by members of the congregation, followed by curry and drinks. This has brought several new people into the worshipping life of the Church, both from within the parish and further afield.

The congregation reflects the diversity of the area in which we are set and includes people from West Africa, the Caribbean, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. We value this wonderful diversity and believe it is a source of life and energy in the worshipping life of our church.

Future plans, which will involve the work of our Pastoral Assistant, include running an Alpha Course, setting up a Winter Night Shelter and continuing to find ways of reaching out to our community with the love of Jesus Christ. St Benet’s seeks to be a church for the parish, in which all are welcomed, noticed and valued: we take the ministry of hospitality very seriously, and a large part of our Pastoral Assistant’s work is engaged in welcome, reaching out and publicizing what we do.

The Pastoral Assistant has had a role in leading our successful Kids’ Church on a Sunday morning, which has led to growth in the number of children and their families coming to church. We plan to set up a youth group over the coming year, in which the Pastoral Assistant will have a prominent leadership role.

Our Pastoral Assistant has been a great asset to the life of the parish, and we are keen to develop this important ministry over the years to come.

St Benet Fink’s website: