Floating Church to navigate London's canals to establish new congregations

The Church of England is planning to build a Floating Church which will navigate London's canals in a bid to set up new congregations in areas where there are still no established houses of worship.

(REUTERS / Toby Melville)A traditional Venetian gondola passes between narrow boats in the Little Venice area in London July 21, 2006.

In partnership with Turks Boat Builders, U.K.-based firm Denizen Works has designed a vessel named Floating Church that will function both as a house of worship and a community hub. The mobile structure will be built for the Church of England's Diocese of London to bring the gospel to places with no established congregations yet, The Architectural Digest detailed.

The Floating Church resembles the bellows of a church organ, with an expandable roof to make room for worshippers during its services. Aside from being an instrument in spreading the gospel to parts of London, the vessel was also designed to hold community activities such as yoga classes and book groups.

As of the moment, the Floating Church project is gathering funds for its construction. Nevertheless, work on the mobile church is set to start in March 2018, and it is expected to go on its maiden voyage before that year ends.

In July, East London Advertiser reported that the St. Paul's Old Ford and St. Mary of Eton parishes wanted a floating church to reach out to communities in the Olympic Park. A canal boat was leased by the Diocese of London to temporarily serve that purpose until the real thing was constructed.

"A floating church in East London shows the way the diocese is seeking to spread its ministry and support communities," said Bishop of Stepney, Adrian Newman, at the time. "The design is a 'vision' to become a reality."

The floating church is expected to connect with people at Here East, Sweetwater, and Eastwick in the Olympic Park development zone. It would also be open for rent for art exhibitions, interfaith gatherings, and other events.