East End churches shortlisted for Archbishop of Canterbury’s top architecture award

PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 October 2013

Poplar's St Mary & St Michael... RC church that's made it onto shortlist for award by Angican Archbishop of Canterbury

Poplar's St Mary & St Michael... RC church that's made it onto shortlist for award by Angican Archbishop of Canterbury

Archant 2012

Two churches in London’s deprived East End which help worshipers “catch a glimpse of heaven” have made it onto a shortlist for best modern architecture.

Inside Poplar's St Mary & St MichaelInside Poplar's St Mary & St Michael

The Roman Catholic Saints Mary & Joseph at Poplar could be in line for a top award from the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury next month.

The church and its Anglican near neighbour St Paul’s in Bow Common have been picked along with 22 others around the country in the ‘Best Modern Churches’ competition by the National Churches Trust.

“The challenge of helping people catch a glimpse of heaven has always produced creative architecture,” said Churches Trust chief executive Claire Walker.

“We are rightly proud as a nation of our magnificent heritage of historic churches.

“But there are many which have been built in the last 60 years that were designed for the changing nature of religious liturgy and practice which reflect modern architecture and design.”

The trust has teamed up with the Ecclesiastical Architects & Surveyors Association and the 20th Century Society to find the best in modern church architecture to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

Judges are to reveal the Top 10 and award a ‘Diamond Jubilee Architecture’ prize to the three places of worship with “the best sacred spaces” built in the last 60 years at a special awards ceremony at Lambeth Palace on November 7. The awards are presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself, Justin Welby.

Saints Mary & Joseph and St Paul’s, which give spiritual solace in areas with high poverty and unemployment, competed for the shortlist against 200 houses of worship in the UK nominated by the public and by church and heritage organisations.

Church buildings of any denomination were eligible for the competition if they opened for worship after January 1, 1953.

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