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Shadwell: 'choir church' draws children in East London

An after school 'choir church' with a strong social justice theme is proving a successful way to engage children in church in East London, reports churchofengland.org

Around 20 children attend an after-school ‘Choir Church’ mid-week at St George-in-the-East church in Shadwell, east London, where they take part in a choral Eucharist, sing hymns, and learn Mass settings and anthems dating back hundreds of years.

Since it was founded, the children have also had the chance to swap the trestle table altar in the 60s hall at their primary school St Paul’s Church of England Primary School, in Whitechapel for St Paul’s Cathedral and King’s College, Cambridge, among other trips.

They also join the Sunday worship at the church at key moments during the year including Christmas and Easter.

Choir Church is supported by the parish priest Revd Richard Springer and since it has formed, children have come forward to be baptised and play an active part in the life of the church.

The organisers of the Choir Church have ensured that its work is closely tied to social justice. Since it was founded in 2016, the children have testified about their experience of poor housing as part of a campaign to secure land for affordable housing.

They have also helped work with the council to secure swimming facilities, and worked with the local Food Bank to collect food.

Tom Daggett, of the Choir Church Foundation, who leads the choir and singing at St Paul’s Whitechapel, said: “Choir Church has opened up a whole new world of opportunity and learning for the children.

"When beautiful music is combined with the truth of the gospel, there is fertile ground for faith to emerge, grow, and deepen. By singing the gospel in this way, the history and profound meaning of the words have led the children to understand more about the Christian faith and know more of Jesus.”

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