St Michael’s prayer meetings attract an international congregation

Reverend Kunle Ayodeji outside St Michael'’s Church, Highgate. Picture: Mark Collinson

Reverend Kunle Ayodeji outside St Michael'’s Church, Highgate. Picture: Mark Collinson - Credit: Mark Collinson

“Covid has taught us all the importance of community,” says Reverend Kunle Ayodeji, vicar at St Michael’s, Highgate. 

Like most churches St Michael’s has embraced the digital age and has kept in contact with the community through regular online prayer meetings and after-service catch-ups, attracting attendees from as far afield as Barbados, Hungary and Nigeria.

“We take it for granted how important an open church is. It was a challenge ensuring the spiritual and physical needs of the congregation were met,” said Kunle, who had been at St Michael’s for the past three years.

St Michael’s works closely with CARIS Haringey, an organisation which works to support the homeless, and XLP which works with young people growing up on inner city estates, and has been available to support anyone in need throughout lock-down.

The challenge of financial losses due to lost revenue from both the hiring of the church hall and collections from the congregation has been met with a keen commitment to keeping staff.

“So far as our own staff were concerned, including our administrator, music and cleaning staff, the overall policy of the church was neither to furlough nor make redundant, and we followed that policy,” said Kunle.

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

Although St Michaels has reopened for midweek and Sunday services, it is still looking at ways to provide Sunday school.

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“We regularly have up to 40 children at our Sunday school each week. Having to cancel our in-person provision for the children has been Covid’s cruelest blow,” said Kunle.  

Like most churches, St Michael’s must continue to innovate and find new ways to stay connected and to support the community.

“As part of our future plans, we want to be better plugged into our community and its needs, “ said Kunle.

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