Highgate International Church: ‘When the noise is switched off, we have to grapple with who we really are’

PUBLISHED: 14:18 27 September 2020

Socially distanced worshippers at Highgate International Church. Picture: Mark Collinson

Socially distanced worshippers at Highgate International Church. Picture: Mark Collinson

Mark Collinson

“Our current focus is on reconnecting physically with one another and with the broader community around us - regaining confidence to meet up, to do so safely, but also meaningfully.”

Highgate International Church. Picture: Mark CollinsonHighgate International Church. Picture: Mark Collinson

That is the situation for Highgate International Church (HIC) which, like so many others, is adapting to ever-changing lockdown conditions, while caring for the vulnerable and keeping connected to the community.

The church, in Archway Road, is currently running “blended” services on a Sunday with some physically present and others joining online using Zoom.

It has been a part of the community since 1884 when it opened as a Brethren Assembly to preach the Gospel in the Highgate and Archway area. It also gives financial support to five missionaries and three organisations around the world.

Like other places of worship, HIC has gone online with regular Zoom conference calls.

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“So bread and wine taken in separate homes in a collective moment of worship can be as meaningful as sharing communion in the same building,” said Mark Davies, elder and minister at HIC.

He continued: “While the concern to limit public gatherings was obvious and necessary, the failure to distinguish between such gatherings and the use of the church as a vital element of community support needed clarification.”

While the Thursday community drop in-in cafe was originality forced to close the church was able to continue to support those in need by allowing access to shower facilities, internet access and food.

The church has also been on hand to offer guidance and support with other issues such a rehousing and universal credit applications. It is linked with FareShare, a charity that gives access to unsold food item from both Swain’s Lane and Crouch End branches of Tesco Express.

Mark said his experience working for 20 years in churches in Zambia, where highly contagious diseases such as cholera periodically affect large areas, has been very relevant to leading a Christian community during Covid.

“One of the biggest lessons being learned have related to coming to terms with our human vulnerabilities,” he said. “We have so easily masked the brevity of the human life span and the swiftness with which our life patterns can be disrupted with the buzz of entertainment and social activities. When the activities and noise is switched off, we have to grapple with who we really are.”

Highgate International Church can be contacted via email at or via the church mobile on 07458 306247.

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