12th October 2017

In recognition of the recent tide of violent gun and knife crime within south London communities, on Sabbath 30 September 2017, the Lewisham church held a Community and Memorial Service in honour of families affected by gun and knife violence._MG_0538

The Lewisham Pathfinder and Adventurer Club also punctuated the day with a takeover of Sabbath School and performed their annual drum core drill and march.

Six families who had lost children and loved ones to gun and knife crimes were represented in the congregation, as well as friends, relatives and supporters who were in also attendance. Members of the Lewisham police force who specialise in tackling gun and knife crime _MG_0532were also present to support the day.

South England Conference President Dr Emmanuel Osei, alongside Youth director Pastor Anthony Fuller also gave their support to the service, with Dr Osei highlighting the need for the Church to play a relevant role in supporting the practical needs of communities experiencing gun and knife crime violence. He also emphasized the Church's need to reach out to those suffering and embrace them with arms of love.

Dr Osei's apt reminders were followed by a moving prayer for all families who had suffered the loss of loved ones, in addition to a slide show shown of all victims who had recently lost their lives as a result of gun and knife crime.

Pastor Fuller also preached on the importance for the Church to exercise passion rather than duty in responding to the needs of those around us. A message fit for reminding the Church to act with passion in response to the needs of communities._M8B3911-002

Paul Frempong who leads the Boys2Men ministries, which is currently running a Knife Crime tour across UK churches, discussed the effects of violent crimes in a presentation he spoke on for the afternoon programme. He demonstrated how popular youth culture is helping to perpetuate the rise of gun and knife crime and the impact it has on attracting young people to commit violent crimes.

Pastor Colin Stewart, who initiated the Community and Memorial Service in remembrance of victims of gun and knife crime, emphasised he did not want the day to be just a one-off event. He stated his desire to make the service a national yearly event wherein churches can join with local communities in recognising victims of gun and knife violence. He stressed the need for the Church to play a practical role in supporting the needs of young people and families affected by the unfortunate wave of gun and knife crimes in UK communities.

[Athea Bonner-Mckenzie]


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