Church on the Corner

Church on the Corner is an Anglican church in an old pub in Islington, London

COTC 20th Anniversary-1Church on the Corner began in 1994 when a group of nine young people were sent out from All Saints Church Caledonian Road to plant a new church. Six months later they moved into the derelict King Edward VII pub at 64 Barnsbury Road, and Church on the Corner was born.

Islington was changing fast, and despite the challenges the inner city was an exciting place to live. From the beginning COTC has been a place where the young professionals who were gravitating towards Angel and Upper Street could find a home. A church full of young people in an old pub challenged preconceptions as they lived out and proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ creatively and faithfully.

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In 2004 the Church of England published its ‘Mission Shaped Church’ report, and the Fresh Expressions movement gave a framework for thinking about what COTC among others had already been already doing, encouraging new patterns of church life which were;

Missional – we are aimed at those on the margins of church or outside it.
Contextual – we work at engaging with the fast paced culture of central London
Educational – we take teaching seriously and discipleship is a priority
Authentically Church – we are not just a community, we are building church, informed but not constrained by our tradition.

DSC_1480Church on the Corner is a church for people who perhaps wouldn’t usually do church. Services are simple, thoughtful, and welcoming. Our worship is a blend of traditional and contemporary, and perhaps our greatest resource is the people who make up the community.

And we have learned a lot a long the way.

We don’t exist for ourselves. Our relationships within the churches in our parish are vitally important. Authentic church requires the richness and diversity that a socially, economically and ethnically diverse community brings.

We don’t hold on to what we have. There needs to be a flow as people grow and learn, and then move on to serve in different congregations. We exist to give members away.

We aren’t in competition with other churches. We exist for what we can do that others can’t but don’t duplicate what other churches in the parish are doing well.

We are called to serve.  The way of Christ is the way of servanthood, and life is found in seeking others before ourselves.

So we are deeply rooted in our local area, committed to serving the parish that we live in and resource numerous community activities from a cold weather shelter to children’s summer clubs. We are not a big church, and have no desire to be one, we want to be an authentic local church and a small part of the kingdom of God.

Come and see what we are up to, we would love to have you be a part of it.

How did you get involved in COTC? Tell your story below…

10 thoughts on “The COTC Story

  1. Terry Flood says:

    I visited COTC this sun morning while on holiday from Houston Texas where I’ve been living for the past 10 years.I was very enamoured with the whole feel of the place and the enthusiastic singing of the congregation during worship.I got to meet Pastor Ted from
    Manchester and Steve from Antrim,two really great guys and will try to attend a bible study home group before returning to Houston next week.

  2. Phil, Durham says:

    I pray that your work will be richly blessed

  3. James G says:

    I found Church on the Corner by walking past each day… It seemed interesting, with big windows and young people inside, it looked creative and intriguing. At first by turning up late and sneaking out early I dipped my feet into what this place was about, gradually finding myself drawn to the building and the people within it, eventually to Jesus.
    Whether you are a Christian or not, I reckon it’s a great place to come along to for warmth, friendship and sincere care, all qualities of a loving God. It’s a laugh and it’s real down to earth. I love it! It’s a pub and God is in it! Brilliant!

  4. Jo says:

    I moved to London as I was travelling a lot a needed a base that was closer to my friends. After trying a couple of churches I googled ‘church’ and ‘islington’ one Sunday morning only to come across the CotC website. With pubs and God being my two favourite things (not necessarily in that order!) it seemed like the perfect combo, and I haven’t been disappointed!

  5. SImon Falshaw says:

    I was a lay assistant at All Saints 1988-1991 and lived in the pub for 8 months shortly after the church bought it in 1989. I shared the pub with a large number of empty beer barrels and a blow up skeleton left by the previous occupants. It is encouraging to see how things have developed.

  6. Ruth says:

    I wasn’t really going to bother with church when I moved to London, but a friend persuaded me to google churches in Islington and just ‘have a look’.

    I knew I wanted to be a part of COTC as soon as I saw the website, but it took a bit longer to actually pluck up the courage to go. (There was one time when I ended up standing sheepishly outside the window, smoking, and miserably cursing myself for arriving too late).

    When I finally did go in, the sermon affected me so deeply that I nearly cried, and I knew that for now at least, I was home.

  7. Anna says:

    I’d been looking for a church after years of not really getting round to it, and someone told me ‘try Church on the Corner, they all go to the pub together’. Genius.

    I was terrified turning up on my own, but after a few weeks of warm welcomes – and a hugely welcoming Women’s Breakfast – I felt like part of the group and pretty soon, part of the family. A year on, I live with two others church members, lead services, run a home group and feel part of a very precious community.

    And best of all, that person was right about the pubs.

  8. dunk says:

    we spent a day at the China exhibition at the royal acdemy and we had planed to pop to st mary’s evening service as it looked interesting,
    the worship band was away at spring harvest and st mary’s recomended us visting cotc,
    and since then we never looked back…

  9. Dennis Offer says:

    Hi, I just found this. It seems a wonderful thing you are doing there. I don’t live in London but my son lives very near you in Islington. Perhaps when I’m visiting I may be able to drop into a service (although the average age appears to be half mine!!!). Modern ideas and creative thinking is so inspiring and exactly what the Church needs. Good luck with your endeavours.

  10. Steve Plumb says:

    I have driven my London Taxi past the COTC for a good few years. The website has answered my curiosity. The site is excellent; as is the Pub Theology idea. May God continue to bless whatever it is you are doing!

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