St Ignatius Church, Stamford Hill
St Ignatius Church in Stamford Hill, is a Roman catholic parish church in the Archdiocese of Westminster served by the Society of Jesus. It was founded by the Jesuits in 1894. It is situated on the corner of Tottenham High Road and St. Ann's Road in the London Borough of Hackney close to the border with Haringey, in north-west London.<ref name=site>Introduction, Stamford Hill Parish site Retrieved 18 January 2013</ref>
In 1892, the Jesuits were invited by Cardinal Herbert Vaughan to not only create a parish church, but also a primary school and a secondary school for boys. He did this after receiving a petition by nearly 300 people for a parish to be set up in the Stamford Hill area.<ref name=history>About the Parish, Stamford Hill Parish site Retrieved 18 January 2013</ref>
The first Mass was celebrated in Morecambe Lodge, a large house, since demolished, on the site of the waste land next to the church. The following year, Burleigh House next door, was also bought. It was used to house the Jesuit community until a new presbytery opened in 1928.
A chapel was constructed out of stables, the coach house and stable yard of Morecambe Lodge, but soon the congregation increased to such a size that a proper church was needed. The Jesuits decided to dedicate the church to their order's founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. For financial reasons, St Ignatius church was built in two stages. The first part, which included the sanctuary, was opened in 1903 and the exterior building was completed in 1911.<ref name=history/>
The architect, Benedict Williamson, soon became a catholic priest after being responsible for the design of several other churches in the south east of England.
The interior of the church was not completed until 1925. The chapel of St Joseph at the back of the church is dedicated to the men of the parish who died in the First World War and their names are inscribed on the front of the altar. The High Altar and the communion rails are still present in the church.<ref name=history/>
The secondary school that was asked for by Cardinal Vaughan, was founded on 10 September 1894 next door to the church, called St Ignatius' College. By the 1960s it needed greater capacity to be able to teach an increasing number of pupils and it moved to Enfield in 1968. When it moved, it left behind a primary school, also dedicated to St Ignatius of Loyola. Although, the primary school is no longer run by the Society of Jesus, it is entrusted to the Archdiocese of Westminster, so it still enjoys a close relationship with the church.<ref name=history/>
By the amount of voluntary organisations that run in the parish and its premises, the church can be seen to be very pastorally active. In particular, the parish was very involved in the founding of the Community organizing group London Citizens.<ref name=site/> There is also a Justice and Peace group that meet to discuss issues and promote Fair trade products. Working with these groups is the St Ignatius Housing Association, that provides support for homeless people and catholic associations that represent different resident groups, such as the Latin-American, Nigerian and Ghanaian Catholic Associations.<ref name=history/>
In addition, Ignatian spirituality groups also meet in the parish, such as the Christian Life Community.
Being home to a multi-cultural congregation, the parish has seven church choirs, which goes some way to represent the different and diverse nature of the parishioners.<ref name=history/> The church has the:
- St Ignatius Parish Choir
- Junior Choir, started in 1997, for ages 7 to 10.
- Youth Choir, for ages 11 to 16.
- The St Ignatius Caribbean Choir, started in 1985.
- African Society Choir
- Latin American Choir
- Polish Choir
- St Ignatius' College
- Society of Jesus
- Ignatian Spirituality
- London Citizens