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Olympic Park floating church ‘launch’ on Lea River by Diocese of London

PUBLISHED: 15:11 31 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:49 31 July 2017

A floating church could be coming to a parish near you with plans being unveiled for canal boat worship on the Lea River next to the Olympic Park.

Two east London parish churches, St Paul’s Old Ford in St Stephen’s Road and St Mary of Eton in Eastway, Hackney Wick, want to push the boat out to reach outlying communities in the Olympic Park on the opposite bank.

A public consultation is being held until Saturday on board the Elsdale II canal boat leased from the Groundwork South charity by the Diocese of London, moored at Canalside at Here East, in the Olympic Park.

The boat is being used as a temporary floating church until a purpose-built vessel is made ready while the diocese applies for local planning permission.

The idea already has the blessing of the Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, who said: “A floating church in East London shows the way the diocese is seeking to spread its ministry and support communities. The design is a ‘vision’ to become a reality.”

It would be pushed out to reach the communities springing up at Here East, Eastwick and Sweetwater in the Olympic Park development zone, as a venue for Christian worship and place of learning.

The vessel would also be available for hire for community programmes, children’s theatre, art exhibitions, business functions and interfaith celebrations.

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