A church with a 250-year history of social action

Ariel photo of Holy Trinity Clapham

A church with a 250-year history of social action

Published: 18 October 2023
A £300,000 grant from Benefact Trust will help Holy Trinity Clapham to continue its vision 250 years on from one of the most significant periods in history.
Holy Trinity Clapham (HTC) opened for worship in 1776 and is most famously associated with William Wilberforce and his group of friends known as ‘The Clapham Sect’. They worshipped at the church as they campaigned for many religious and humanitarian causes – most notably the abolition of the slave trade. 
Before the 18th Century few Christians had ever questioned the morality of slavery, but William Wilberforce championed change and headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for 20 years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807. William supported the campaign for the complete abolition of slavery for many years after and died just three days after hearing that the Abolition of Slavery Bill in the British Colonies was passed by parliament.
William’s legacy lives on in the spirit and culture of the church, and 250 years on from its opening, it has a vision to transform the space to serve the congregation and community more effectively. 
The vibrant congregation of 700 is made up of a diverse mix of individuals and families. The church practices creative and engaging styles of worship and hosts a variety of community projects. These include a foodbank, community lunches, after school clubs, debt advice services, and supporting ex-offenders from nearby Brixton Prison.
The church wants to continue growing and do more for the community, but it only has one large worship space, an out-of-date kitchen, and no disabled access. Much of the building is in need of attention and it's important to make it fit for purpose in the 21st century.
With our support, the ‘Revitalise 250’ project will see the extension of ‘two wings’ either side of the chancel to create larger, multi-purpose meeting rooms. A modern kitchen will be installed, new toilets and an additional chapel. The entrance of the church will also be redeveloped into a more welcoming and accessible space, and there will be new AV equipment installed throughout the church.
Jo Luck, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, said: “It’s a privilege to do our bit to support the redevelopment of Holy Trinity Clapham, which is a building that holds such historical importance. This project will enable social action to continue at the church for many years to come, living and breathing the values of The Clapham Sect.” 

Jago Wynne, the Rector of HTC, commented:“Since 1776, HTC has had a vision to transform the world and see every life bear fruit for Jesus. This vision has rightly meant making changes to this building in the past to meet the needs of the time, and that same vision means that today we recognise the need to make changes to this building now. We are so grateful to Benefact Trust in helping to make this a reality.”

If you’ve got a project focused on making a positive difference to lives and communities, find out more about our Community Impact Grants Programme.
People at Breakfast Club at Holy Trinity Clapham

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