Find a Church  |  Vacancies  |  Documents  |  Directory  |  Safeguarding |  Contact 


New migrant communities revitalise local churches

First published on: 3rd August 2023

There’s something special happening in North Manchester, with congregations growing as new communities move into the area. 

Migrants from West African and Indian communities have settled in the region, often for work in North Manchester General Hospital. Their presence has revitalised three local churches - Holy Family Failsworth, The Parish Church of St. Luke, Lightbowne, and the Most Holy Trinity, Blackley – where new members of the congregation have been welcomed with open arms by the parish priest, Father Paul Hutchins. 

Part of Fr. Paul’s approach to helping migrants feel welcome at the church has included adding mid-week services to allow those working weekends to attend. He has also encouraged members to shape the worship, bringing hymns and prayers from their churches of origin to make them feel as at home as possible. 


Left: Fr. Paul and Fr. Lewis and churchgoers at Most Holy Trinity Blackley. This photo was taken following a new Mass that takes place on a weekday evening and includes hymns from Kerala, India.

Right: Children taking part in GPS (God’s Pilgrim Servants) Children’s Activities at Most Holy Trinity Blackley.

Many have brought young families too, so Fr. Paul and his curate Fr. Lewis have been involving young people in all aspects of the service, including giving them roles as altar servers. In addition, many now hold public office roles on the PCC; Fr. Paul was delighted to welcome his first Nigerian Churchwarden to this vital role in the parish. 

Fr. Paul said, “When I first started five years ago we had sparks of promise as a multicultural congregation, but in a relatively short space of time we have seen a huge increase in attendance, welcoming new worshippers from Ghana, Nigeria, and South India.” 

“The steps I have taken are basic but meaningful; simply becoming involved in their lives. It is traditional parish ministry - understanding my flock, and meeting them where they are at. This is really paying dividends and they are making Anglican churches in Manchester their spiritual home.” 

“I visit families as they arrive in the area, providing spiritual as well as practical support, such as helping them to access services and schools. It has been quite wonderful to see the congregations growing as a result, going from 50 regular worshippers at Trinity to over 80 congregants, including 25 – 30 children.” 

“Over the coming weeks, we have baptisms every week - many of them involving whole families. They are coming because they want to be baptised; they feel called to baptism and feel like this is the right thing for them. I have always had baptisms at the church, but never in such numbers! We were also delighted to confirm 28 candidates ranging from ages 10 to 18, and 6 adults. We have also arranged another Confirmation service later this year as more candidates have come forward.” 


This week Fr. Paul has taken 20 children, the majority of whom are Nigerian, to Walsingham Youth Pilgrimage for a fun getaway filled with activities and worship. Last year, he took a few children who told their friends about how much they had enjoyed the trip, and so this year their numbers have multiplied. 


The social aspect of the church community getting together after services has also helped people of all nationalities to learn more about one another. Plans are afoot to organise an event later in the year with food at the heart of it! 

Fr. Paul added, “It feels like such an uplifting time at the moment and we can sense the Holy Spirit moving in this place. Long-time members of Holy Trinity, Blackley have responded with great positivity to their changing congregation. The older residents have embraced our new members; they had been worried about the future of the church [due to depleting numbers] but are now delighted that the church is filling up once again.” 

Fr Paul and churchwarden Osade Edith were featured on a recent BBC Radio 4 programme, listen here:

BBC Radio 4 - Black, African and British, Black, African and British in Belief

Powered by Church Edit