St Mary Magdalene Church, Holloway Road
St Mary Magdalene Church is an Anglican church on Holloway Road in north London. It is located in St Mary Magdalene Gardens opposite Islington Central Library and is the parish church of the Parish of St Mary Magdalene and St David. The early 19th century building accommodates the activities of the church congregation, including church services, the church's Refugee Centre and the offices of its social action initiative The Paradise Project, and provides spaces to other users. Baptisms and confirmatons, marriages and funerals are regularly held here.
The church has traditionally belonged in the evangelical stream of the Church of England. More recently it has become more closely associated with a charismatic evangelical approach to worship, informal other than at the 9am service which is robed. There are good ties with other churches in the Deanery, especially St Mark's Tollington and Christ Church Highbury. There is also a strong relationship with Holy Trinity Brompton and related churches. St Mary Magdalene is a certified Fairtrade church.
Building & Gardens: The church was built in 1814 to a design by William Wickings as a chapel of ease to the parish church of St. Mary's farther south on Upper Street. It became a parish church in its own right in 1894. A typical Georgian six-bay brick box with three tiers of small windows, the lowest to the crypt. The bell tower at the south of the building is square and houses eight bells, cast by John Warner and Son at their Spitalfields foundry in 1875. The bells are a “maiden” ring (they have never been re-tuned or altered in any way). Inside, the interior retains its galleries on three sides supported by Tuscan columns. Originally horse shoe-shaped these were converted to a rectangular plan when the furnishings were altered in 1894-5. Most of this work was undone in 1983, when the choir stalls and pews were removed and meeting rooms were built under the galleries. The church gardens are the church's old burial ground, which was opened to the public at the end of the 19th century, and now is a space appreciated by many for its recreational amenity.
Music is led by vocalists and a band at the 11am and 6pm services and is contemporary. The 9am service's music is led from the piano and features well-known hymns. There are occasional lunch-time or evening concerts, advertised on the church's website. St. Mary Magdalene is home to a fine three-manual organ by George Pike England, slightly modified by the famous London firms of Henry Willis & Sons and N. P. Mander. Henry Willis himself was organist here for nearly thirty years. The organ is not in use (2009) as only about a third of its pipes are working.
St Mary Magdalene conducts three church services every Sunday: a 9am service of Holy Communion and two informal services - one service at 11am (with children's groups; all-age worship 1st Sundays; Holy Communion 2nd and 4th Sundays; Morning Worship 3rd and 5th Sundays) and the other service at 6pm (with Holy Communion once a term). In addition, the church runs regular prayer meetings, bible study and discussion groups, and two Alpha courses three times a year (Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings - with a creche on Thursdays).
The church's activities and ministries include:
- MiniMags - for Toddlers and their Parents and Carers, Tuesdays 10-12
- KidzClub - Fridays 3:30-5:30
- St Mary Magdalene Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees (Refugee Centre) -- provides support for refugees, including English language and computer classes
- Bellringers—regularly ring the church bells (practices on Wednesdays at 7-9pm; ringing at 10-11am Sundays)
- The Paradise Project—social action in the community
In addition, St Mary Magdalene is closely associated with the St Mary Magdalene Academy on Liverpool Road.
St Mary Magdalene is in the Deanery of Islington, in the Diocese of London (Stepney Episcopal Area).