Vision and values

Church is a group of people learning to love and serve like Jesus Christ, and at St Mary’s, we do that through worship and prayer, through arts and music, and by working to bring hope and transformation to Walthamstow.

St Mary’s is a founding member of Waltham Forest Citizens, and through our diverse alliance of nearly 15,000 people, we have shown that real change is possible: we’ve won promises from local councillors on affordable housing and youth provision, have signed up local businesses to pay the real London Living Wage and are working hard to make Walthamstow Village a Living Wage Zone.

Our community organising work is an important part of who we are, and is part of our way of loving our neighbours and being a Christian presence in Walthamstow. 

Our partnership with the Forest Churches Emergency Night Shelter gives those living on the streets a meal and a safe place to sleep during the winter, and we’ve helped over 100 people go debt free since starting our Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre.

Our arts projects bring people together. Through the St Mary’s Music Hall, we have welcomed thousands of new people to St Mary’s, some of whom have started joining us on Sundays. Many others have become friends, and have enquired about helping at the Night Shelter or joining us in our community organising work with Waltham Forest Citizens.

We started the St Mary’s Music Hall in 2017 – a series of world, folk and jazz concerts in our building. As a church, we help run the concerts and welcome people into the building.

St Mary’s is part of the Church of England and the Diocese of Chelmsford, and as Anglican Christians, we value diversity in worship, background, age and viewpoint. St Mary’s is a broad church in the truest sense – our worship runs the gamut from gently liturgical to gently charismatic – but we all share a commitment to loving God and loving our neighbours here in Walthamstow.

At St Mary’s, we host regular family parties for the whole community which usually coincide with a liturgical season. This photo is from our Pentecost Party, 2018.

We are an inclusive congregation where all are welcome – from babies to children, young people to older people; a community where those who are divorced, married, single or gay can serve and lead as God calls them. Jesus was known for ‘eating and drinking with sinners’, for his affirmation of women, his mission to preach good news to the poor and for his love for people who were marginalised by wider society or considered ‘unclean’. We warmly welcome those who feel marginalised or lonely. 

People exploring faith at one of our Alpha Courses, which include watching short films on faith and having small group discussions where no question is off limits. 

St Mary’s is the ancient parish church of Walthamstow and we have a history of innovation, from the establishment of Monoux Almshouses in the 16th century to the opening of the first purpose-built Church of England infants’ school in the 19th.

We are pioneering what churches can do once again with our Creative Church project, which will see our building transformed with a café, gallery space and more. Our regenerated church building will be known for art and music, and as a peaceful, creative place where people can connect with others and with God throughout the week.

Our Creative Church project will transform St Mary’s Walthamstow: plans include an extension with a new entrance, a gallery space, a cafe, new public space, additional toilets and flexible, cathedral-style seating.

We are also in the process of renovating our existing church hall (‘The Welcome Centre’) and the property next to it as both a nursery and a mix of 14 permanently affordable one-, two- and three-bedroom flats for keyworkers to help address London’s housing crisis.

We will build 14 affordable flats for keyworkers as part of an almshouse scheme – as well as a nursery and community space – as part of a redevelopment of the church hall.

More than anything, we believe that Jesus Christ changes lives and communities. In other words, it is not St Mary’s that calls you, but God himself! We don’t have all the answers, and we never will, but we want to be formed and shaped by our patterns of prayer, service and worship, always being led by the Holy Spirit.

Do come and join us as we make St Mary’s Walthamstow a Centre of Arts, Prayer and Transformation in Walthamstow. There is a place for you at St Mary’s, whatever your background, gifts or interests.

We need each other, and St Mary’s needs you!