Meet the pastor
Andrew Murray is the pastor of Hope Community Church. He is married to Joy and they have three children. Andrew has lived in Soho since 1986.
When I arrived in Soho to work with Michael Toogood in a church planting project I was only signed up for a year. Little did I imagine I'd still be here more than 32 years later. There's something about Soho that gets a hold of you.
The project later became Immanuel Community Church and when the job ended I was still committed to the church. So I stayed, becoming school secretary at Soho Parish School in 1989. Over the years I have also worked in the Play Centre there, was occasional caretaker, sent our three children to the school, went with the school journey to Treginnis Farm for City Children five times (which was brilliant!) and later even did a day’s supply teaching.
From 1991 I went into teaching, spending three years at a primary school in Brick Lane, then supply teaching in various schools before a ‘stress related illness’ put an end to that career. My next job was back to the school office as Administrator (the posh new name for 'school secretary') at All Souls Primary School in Fitzrovia.
Then in 2002, after Michael Toogood retired, I was asked to become the pastor of Immanuel Community Church. We always had a connection with Covent Garden Evangelical Church, and in 2011 we linked up with them and renamed ourselves, so I'm now pastor of Hope Community Church.
Apart from the church and the school, I've always had some involvement in local community life. At various times I've contributed to the Soho Society; police/community liaison groups (Soho Sector Steering Group, West End Drugs Partnership, Soho Ward Panel); council/community groups (Soho Steering Group, Berwick Street Working Group); Kemp House Residents Association; and the Soho Neighbourhood Forum. I even stood as an independent candidate in elections for Westminster Council in 2014 (unsuccessfully!) You can find me tweeting about Soho issues @stateofsoho.
With the church, as well as being involved with children's clubs for many years, I also helped to run Fair Share, our fair trade shop on Berwick Street, for ten years.
If all that sounds worthy, I’ve actually enjoyed quite a lot of it - especially because of some of the people I've got to know - but mostly my involvement has come about from a sense of Christian responsibility.