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New deacon for the Lea River's floating church-on-a-barge is ordained at St Paul's Cathedral

PUBLISHED: 10:19 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 10:53 02 July 2019

David Pilkington, ordained new deacon for St Columba floating church on the Lea River at Old Ford. Picture: Diocese of London

David Pilkington, ordained new deacon for St Columba floating church on the Lea River at Old Ford. Picture: Diocese of London

Diocese of London

A new deacon has been ordained for the church-on-a-barge moored on the Lea River at Old Ford.

Bishop of London Sarah Mullally (right) meets her new deacons after their ordination at St Paul's. Picture: Diocese of LondonBishop of London Sarah Mullally (right) meets her new deacons after their ordination at St Paul's. Picture: Diocese of London

David Pilkington has been appointed to St Paul's in Old Ford after his ordination at 'the other St Paul's' in the City.

He was one of three new deacons ordained at St Paul's Cathedral on Sunday who have been appointed to parishes in the East End.

The other two are a married couple, Josh and Alanna Harris, who have been assigned to St George-in-the-East at Shadwell. Alanna recently gave birth.

Deacon Pilkington, meanwhile, has been assigned to St Paul's Old Ford parish off Roman Road to look after the St Columba floating church moored nearby on the Lea River.

"The training for Ordination was challenging," he admits. "It's been a 'formational' journey for me, to focus fully on the new worshipping community of St Columba to help others explore their spirituality."

He takes the helm on the barge being used as a church for boat people living on the Lea River and Navigation canal.

Bishop of Stepney Adrian Newman sprinkling Holy Water at launch of St Columba floating church on Lea River in September 2018, before he retired. Picture: Kristyan RachaelBishop of Stepney Adrian Newman sprinkling Holy Water at launch of St Columba floating church on Lea River in September 2018, before he retired. Picture: Kristyan Rachael

The converted barge was inaugurated as a temporary place of worship by former Bishop of Stepney Adrian Newman before he retired last year.

It is being replaced permanently with a purpose-built floating church literally being launched in the autumn.

Six new deacons have joined churches in the Stepney diocese area covering Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington ordained on Sunday by the Bishop of Willesden, Peter Broadbent, who is acting as Bishop of Stepney.

The Bishop said: "The Church is diverse in the Stepney area and these six new clergy are a varied group of people. They are a sign of the health and strength of the Church today, sharing love with the people of Stepney."

The six were among 49 deacons ordained for the London Diocese at Sunday';s service conducted by the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Sarah Mullally.

The new deacons are from diverse backgrounds including advertising, youth work and even the Australian national Rugby Sevens team.

The temporary floating church that new deacon David Pilkington takes over is the converted Elsdale II barge moored at Hackney Wick that was blessed by the Bishop of Stepney, who sprinkled Holy Water for its relaunch in his last major public function before retiring in October.

The new St Columba East London community run by the neighbouring parishes of St Paul's Old Ford and St Mary of Eton was set up for worshippers in Hackney Wick, the Fish Island end of Old Ford and the emerging Olympic Park developments of Eastwick and Sweetwater.

September 2018:

Floating church on a barge gets Bishop of Stepney's 'Holy Water' blessing

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