Thursday, 18 August 2011

Further responses to London Riots

The clearing up process continues and the comment becomes more reflective. There are also more stories of how churches and individuals responded across Greater London.

The Bishop of Barking noted "As well as being shocking the events of this past fortnight has also been inspiring and heart-warming. I refer to the instinctive response of the majority of the population who have demonstrated kindness, generosity and voluntary service to their stricken communities. It has been evident that in many cases our Church and faith communities have been at the forefront of this neighbourliness One example has been the Welcome Centre at St Mary’s Walthamstow which opened two hours after a request from our local MP and has provided a cafĂ© and respite centre for Waltham Forest Police. This follows the closure of Police Canteens in the Borough because of cuts. At its peak the centre served 240 meals in an evening and provided overnight accommodation for Police on long shifts. Ironically the initiative was organised on twitter and brought volunteers from all over London to assist including many who were not church members."

St Peter's Walworth had sixty people to turn up to a meeting where they celebrated what they valued about the area and created some bunting to liven things up! (See picture above) St John at Hackney had over three hundred people at a tea party to reassert community spirit.

Walls of peace and positive messages have been a response in Peckham and Woolwich where Danny Mercer also reminded the community not to prejudge young people.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London have both spoken of a need to communicate right and wrong through nourishing relationships. The Chief Rabbi has also commented and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg offers and interesting reflection on the significance of the time of year in the Jewish calendar.

We are already hearing of plans to accentuate the positive about our communities in the coming months perhaps in conjunction with Peace Week at the end of September.

Talking about relationships, our sister blog on The Contextual Theology Centre website Faithful Citizens has rounded up some comments and reflections. The CTC twitter feed has further updates from affected churches and links to more reflections.