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Golders Green techno vicar delivers sermons from iPad at the altar

PUBLISHED: 09:00 01 February 2012 | UPDATED: 17:17 01 February 2012

Church manager Sylvia Mutevelian  with Rev. Rex Morton at Golders Green Parish Church. Picture: Polly Hancock

Church manager Sylvia Mutevelian with Rev. Rex Morton at Golders Green Parish Church. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

A “techno vicar” who leads sermons with music and visuals from his iPad and iPhone has ushered in radical change at a Golders Green church to make it fit for the 21st century.

The £400,000 renovations completed last month at Golders Green Parish Chuch in West Heath Drive included new heating, sound systems and a community kitchen.

But the major change has been to rebrand the place of worship as a community resource.

Rev Rex Morton, 50, a former barber who has been at the helm of the church for four years, said: “I want to bring the wider community into the church.

“Back in the 1930s congregations didn’t stay for tea and coffee, they didn’t mix. But we’re aiming for equal amounts of socialising and worship.”

In a major overhaul which took 13 months, pews were removed and replaced by chairs which can be moved to make way for activities.

Hymn books were replaced by interactive screens, the whole interior was redecorated, and a new music platform complete with electric guitars was installed.

The changes have been carried out to respect the Grade II listed 1937 Giles Gilbert Scott building.

Senior and toddler groups and CV writing workshops are now taking place, but the church is still looking to the community to suggest how it would like the space to be used.

“I came here thinking the changes would take place in the next 10 years but I found a community really quite keen on bringing things forward,” said Mr Morton.

“Older people have been the opposite of what we had expected. You’d think they would struggle with the technology but they love it.

“We’ve spent a lot of time talking and listening and they’ve really embraced the change.”

As many barriers as possible have been taken down to make the church more welcoming to visitors.

Thick dark doors have been removed from the entrance and replaced with glass, to entice those passing by to venture in.

Church manager Sylvia Mutevelian, who oversaw the renovations, said: “When people walked in their mouths dropped open.

“People are amazed about how bright and cheery it is. It’s been hard work but it’s been worth it.”

The next step is to brighten the outside of the church and improve access and paving.


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