A Floating Church Will Soon Set Sail on London’s Canals

The aptly named Floating Church is just that.1 min


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From the birth of Christianity to the present, the most significant objects of transformation for Christian architecture and design were the great churches of Byzantium, the Romanesque abbey churches, Gothic cathedrals and Renaissance basilicas. These large, often ornate and architecturally prestigious buildings were dominant features of the towns and countryside in which they stood.  There aren’t many facets of Christian architecture that haven’t been sufficiently perfected over the past two millennia.

The Catchy Design

A new project from the Church of England and UK-based firm Denizen Works seeks to challenge that notion. With a barge that not only is able to traverse the London canal network but that also has a  functional aesthetic for a place of worship that eschews the traditional concept of real estate as well.

“An instrument in spreading the gospel to parts of London.”

A Growing Community

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The vessel named Floating Church is expected to be ready by December 2018.  In particular, the focus will be on developing links with the growing communities in the London Mayor’s key Opportunity Areas.  The vessel will be built for the Church of England’s Diocese of London to bring the gospel to places where there are still no established houses of worship.

Denizen Works architect Andrew Ingram said in a statement:

“We have designed a boat which we think will become a landmark on the London canal and provide its users with a unique and inspiring space.”

The interior will be adaptable for many activities as parent-children groups, yoga classes, art exhibitions, concerts, or book and supper groups.  For the period the church will be wandering around communities and will assume  two different shapes. In order to pass below London’s bridges, it was necessary to build a compact and flatboat. However, these features are only needed to navigate the waterways.

Designed to mimic the bellows of a church organ, when anchored, the boat will transform into a bright accordion-shaped space, thanks to a huge pop-out canopy. The canopy will provide a wide internal space adequate for worship and any other cultural event.

The Floating Church is presently raising funds for its construction and work on the mobile church is expected to start in March 2018.

The floating church is expected to connect with people in East, Sweetwater, and Eastwick in the Olympic Park development zone. It will also be open for rent for art exhibitions, interfaith gatherings, and other events.


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  1. I like the “expando-sanctuary”! I just finished studying Jesus walking on water in John 6. There’s a principle that applies to both situations – “Don’t let obstacles (the water) get in the way of reaching the lost.” If you can’t walk to them, why not float to them!

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