Christ Apostolic Church Great Britain Headquarters is situated on the busy Tottenham High Road, opposite Seven Sisters Underground station in the heart of North London. As proprietors of their church building since 1979, they have had a presence in the area for over 40 years. However, on the night of 22 November 2015, the interior of the main sanctuary of the church building was destroyed by fire. Since then, the church has been unable to use the sanctuary, instead meeting in the next-door church hall and have been fundraising to restore the building to its former glory.
Head of Church & Charity Lending Chris Perkins talks with Pastor Emmanuel Tukasi of Christ Apostolic Church, Tottenham about how the church, with the help of Stewardship were able to renovate their property back to full use as a church building.
Q: Tell us about the history of the church?
A: Christ Apostolic Church Great Britain Headquarters is part of the worldwide family of Christ Apostolic Church and this branch was started by immigrants back in 1979. The church was made up of immigrants mainly from Nigeria who were members of Christ Apostolic Church and they saw the need to bring their experience of God to their new country.
Q: How long have you been the pastor of this church?
A: I have been the pastor of the church for less than three years, taking over the leadership on 9 October 2020 in the middle of Covid.
Q: The church was undergoing a period of change and the building had been destroyed by fire. Tell us about that?
A: It was on 22 November 2015. The building caught fire and unfortunately everything was reduced to ashes. The building remained in that state until 2021 when the restoration started and apart from removing the debris, the building remained unused during that time.
Reference: London Church Destroyed in Huge Fire
Q: During that time where did the church meet to worship?
A: Fortunately, the church has a hall on the side of the building which was previously used for social events and children’s ministry. So, the church used the hall for Sunday services, helped us keep as many parishioners as possible and allowed the church to continue at the site.
Q: What work did you have to do on the building?
A: Apart from the four walls, there was a new design, revaluation of structure and a safety evaluation. Apart from the four walls everything has been rebuilt from scratch - even under the floors of the church building!
Q: How did Stewardship help the church?
A: My predecessor tried to ensure that the work continued through the Covid period, but lockdown was a setback. When I came in to take over the running of the church, we looked everywhere for assistance with funding, but we are grateful to one of our elders who introduced us to Stewardship. We had been to high street banks and other financial institutions who asked for our details, but we never heard back from them. If they were to look at our income during Covid, it was frightening but Stewardship looked beyond Covid, which was encouraging. The interest rate that Stewardship was offering was also the best we could sign up to.
Q: What have the funds enabled you to do?
A: The funds we had lined up to finance the project depended on us having to raise the difference. For instance, the insurance provider would not pay out without the surety that we had all of the funds to complete the project. However, they were able to release the funds based on the offer from Stewardship and donations from members who contributed overwhelmingly to the restoration of the church building (as they could see the project was now fully funded).
Q: When was the first service back in the building?
A: Back in December we were concerned whether we could do our Christmas services in the church building. The project was supposed to be completed in June 2022 but rising costs in materials and cost of living meant that the project timescale was dragged out. We also had issues with the electrical supply contractor. But on 18 December 2022, we had our first service back in the premises when the project architect and contractor said it was safe to do so.
Q: What has the new building allowed you to do as a ministry?
A: Now that we have our building back, we are seeing members coming back who previously used our online streaming services. It is so exciting to see the smile on their faces when they see the church building in a new way. The community is also approaching the church to ask if they can use the church building for weddings, funerals, and other group activities.
Q: What is your vision for the future of the church?
A: My vision for the future of the church is to fulfil the purpose that it was originally built for which is to meet the needs of the community through the service of the church. That people will see this place as a venue where they can get and fellowship with the people of God. I also see a future where young people will see this place as home, where they are free to express their experience of God. That the community will see the church as part of their history. This is the future that I see.
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