South Bermondsey church at risk of ‘collapse’ launches fundraiser

Kit Heren (08 July, 2021)

The Christ Apostolic Church is also a community hub for local groups

45936Church members visiting a care home

A south Bermondsey church is looking to raise £250,000 to completely repair its foundations and interiors after preliminary building works showed it could soon “collapse”.

The Surrey Docks branch of the Christ Apostolic Church on Ilderton Road has already raised £50,000 but needs another £200,000 for “a full renovation,” according to Gabriel Ajakaiye, a youth leader at the church.

The church, which originally dates to the late nineteenth century before later being taken over by the Christ Apostolic Church, has a serious structural problem that means it could collapse if work is not done to repair it, Mr Ajakaiye added.

The church has a local congregation of about 450 people – but since the problems were discovered services have been held in a smaller hall next door, which can only fit about 50 people with social distancing. Tickets for these precious spots are available online before each service but are quickly snapped up.

The church from the outside

This is particularly difficult for older people who may find it harder to use the internet, and for whom the church plays an important social role, Mr Ajakaiye said.

“Older people enjoy the company, they like seeing people every week,” he added. “The past year and a bit have been hard anyway because we’ve been on Zoom, so we want to get back to normal in the main church as quickly as possible.”

As a youth leader who has been going to the church for 27 years, Mr Ajakaiye decided to take up the challenge of raising money on behalf of the next generation of the congregation.

“We wanted to do a bit of fundraising ourselves, because our church is also a place for young people to gather, especially with fewer youth centres in the area these days.

“The church is an outlet for young people in the area. People come here to relax, play music. We have a football team, we do games nights. It’s a nice little getaway. In a way I think we want to give something back.”

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