Our Community

The St. Margaret’s Church Centre is a purpose-built extension to the Church which opened in 1991 and was subsequently commissioned by the then Archbishop of Canterbury.The Centre is very much the hive of industry, housing many fractions during the week. Monday's the centre is closed but on occasions meetings are held. 

It houses the Parish Office, Rector’s Office, a Committee Room (St Paul’s Room), a large meeting room (Civic Room) which can be divided into two good size meeting rooms, The Refectory (Lantern Room), a fully fitted commercial kitchen and a secure garden area.

Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday the tea rooms are open to the general public and this is very much the for front and hub of our community work serving home made cakes,dinners and snacks, from 11am till 2pm.

Tuesday morning from 8 to 9pm we hold a breakfast club for the homeless which has links to The Source and Food Bank. This and the above are run by volunteers. Groups that meet in the centre are Weight Watchers on Tuesday and Wednesday , these are large groups of mixed race that in turn also have the occasional snack in the centre. 

Wednesday there is a Eucharist at 12.30 till 1.15.  12 to 3pm we facilitate a Mental Health group who support each other, have quizzes, crafts, music appreciation, bingo and general chat. This group is very important to their well being and the centre offers them a safe environment with support from the church and some have now become volunteers in the centre.

Wednesday evening the Rotary meet for a 3 course meal and discuss fund raising events for the local people of Barking and Dagenham. The Rotary is a world wide organisation that tries to raise awareness of how we can assist and aid people in their plight. Thursday from 11 am to 1pm a very vibrant and large group of Asian ladies meet called BME, they are mixed religions, Who have guest speakers events and the occasional lunch in the centre. To welcome other religions into our church shows that we are very diverse. 

 Thursday evening we have Brownies, this a very large vibrant group of young people as this is the only group in Barking so it is important to keep this going with all the different  activities they do.

Thursday afternoon there is a prayer group that meets and has had guest speakers, these are usually young mums that meet before picking up their children from school, but all are welcome to join.

Friday the Centre is closed but a Eucharist is said at 10am. Saturday morning there is a School for extra curricular, maths and English for Eastern European children. There are other activities that go on in the Centre, that are part of our community work, Community police hold an Abbey Ward surgery once a month, for advice, assistance and concerns. Care Mark also attend every week to give assistance to anybody that needs care or assistance at home and have been able to help Tea Room customers and some of our congregation. This has been a very fruitful experience. 

Members of the  congregation regularly have family events ranging from birthday parties to receptions.

Hosting a Jazz event with a band in the center

The the helpful hands of the Centre volunteers is an added blessing offering excellent catering services

Upstairs there are large storage areas and a two bedroom flat currently occupied by the organist and his wife.

A tour group visiting the tower.

Various schools in the local area, visitors from abroad and local events are given tours and general history of our grade one listed church, with some of it's beautiful stained glass windows and artifacts. There is so much that goes on in the Centre, with various meetings, visiting groups,parties, church events, Brownies even a Chess Club meet nearly every week.

Cynthia is one of our center volunteers

The Centre brings people together regardless of race, creed, colour, lifestyle orientation, physical or mental disability. We are The Hub

The Church School

St. Margaret’s School is a Church of England Voluntary Aided School situated next to the church. It has a strong Christian ethos and most of the staff are practicing Christians. The P.C.C. has the right to nominate four Foundation Governors and the Vicar of St. Margaret’s is usually responsible for proposing five Diocesan Governors.

The school also benefits from a significant amount of voluntary support from the churches. The school has two forms of entry and is oversubscribed. It attracts children from all parts of Barking and Dagenham as well as Newham and Redbridge. End of term Carol and Leaver’s services are regular features of the church-school relationship. The children attend services in St Margaret’s church on a regular basis and the clergy sometimes contribute to school assemblies.

The Rector is an ex-officio Governor of the School.

Our civic links



St. Margaret’s is the main Civic Church for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. In May each year the newly elected Mayor and Councillors usually attend a Civic Service. The Deputy Lord Lieutenant and local M.P. also attend.

The Sermon is generally preached by the Mayor’s Chaplain (who may be a visitor).

On Remembrance Sunday the Rector leads a service with the Royal British Legion at the War Memorial in Barking Park before the “Civic Service” in Church with The Mayor, other Dignitaries and uniformed organisations. At the Job Drain VC Memorial Statue opposite the Abbey Green a service is held on the 11th November at 11.00a.m.

With the Local Authority making a significant contribution to the building of the Church Centre and the work on the Curfew Tower it is important that the Rector takes the lead in maintaining a close working relationship with the Council.

Home & Overseas mission


We have had a link with the parish of Kristinehamn in Sweden since 2000 (the Diocese of Karlstad is linked to Chelmsford). Members of the Swedish Parish, including their Youth choir, have visited us and we have also visited them. We are hoping to renew it.

Both churches have shared in each other’s services and we remember those of their congregation who are ill each week when we pray for our own members who are unwell.


St Margaret's Church used to support Overseas Mission but not since the last mission partner returned to the UK. We see a great opportunity here being blessed with a large international congregation.


Close to home St Margaret's Church is involved in several charity programs and this is expected to grow in the near future. Our community has a significant need for outreach.

Every Tuesday morning we serve breakfast to the homeless in the community

Our involvement so far includes a local homeless charity, Feeding the homeless and several more. With the growth and influx of new residents in the community the opportunity to reach out is very rich.

St. Margaret's hosted the Diocesan service in January 2004 when the Agreement between Chelmsford and four dioceses in Kenya was signed.




The Rector and Churchwardens are Trustees of a Charitable Trust that give money to the poor. The P.C.C. also administers the Lake Bequest.

Rich in Christian worship, dedication and giving St Margaret’s church is surrounded by evidence of a strong Christian heritage. A walk through the surrounding gardens is a discovery of the impact of Christ in the lives of his saints, long gone but still positively touching the lives of the community today.

From Endowments to charities our church continues to share the love of Christ, home and abroad.

The Vicar is also expected to lead a short service in the churchyard following the Nepton Trustees distribution of Alms “to the Poor of the Parish of Barking” in June each year. This takes place at the grave of Ann and Thomas Nepton. The Trustees, from the worshipful Company of Poulters, attend with the Mayors of the London Boroughs of Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham


The Vicar also has links with the local Alms Houses.


Home & Overseas mission

There is a range of needs and opportunities for pastoral care/mission in the parish.


Developments and opportunities

There have been two major regeneration initiatives within the parish. The Town Centre development includes new housing, retail developments, an arts facility and a lifelong Learning Centre.

Barking promises to become East London’s new cultural hub to provide a wide choice of good value homes, great places to meet and relax with significant new opportunities for work.With superb accessibility, a growing diverse population and development potential Barking is extremely well placed to continue its transformation over the coming years

St Margarets Church is poised to take advantage of this opportunity in various ways;

  • Opportunity for Christian ministry
  • Outreach and playing a vital role in positive in community development.


St. Margaret’s could link into these developments by further developing its role as a Town Centre church through initiatives drawing on its arts tradition, community facilities and heritage and by developing a role in supporting working people and those seeking a place of peace, reflection and pastoral support.