Following the tragic fire outbreak at Grenfell Tower in the city of West London, many have lost their homes and literally have no where to turn to. This had led to a whole number of Pastors opening their doors.
The pastor of St Clement church; Rev Mark O’Donoghue, area dean of Kensington had this to say:
“Jesus would show compassion, he would weep with those who weep, and he would extend hope and joy to people in him.”
Six people are said to be dead and the number of deaths is expected to rise 20. The raging fire that began shortly after midnight engulfed the whole block. In the afternoon, the 24-storey block was said to still be on fire.
The church is said to just a few minutes away from the Grenfell Tower block and has now become a place of refuge for the survivors. Neighbours have been bringing food, water and clothing.
Rev. Mark stated:
“Local churches are responding in the way that communities of Jesus Christ ought to respond. They are throwing open their doors.
They are receiving people who have lost everything, who are worried about friends and neighbours, who are worried about loved ones, who are coming in needing a shoulder to cry on, somewhere to rest.
People have been evacuated from their homes and aren’t sure if they are going back today, tomorrow or ever.”
He also went on to announce that the church was making necessary arrangements to make sure that other parishes in the ‘leafier’ parts of Kensington reach out also.
Local supermarkets are providing food, the church is making plans for hotel accommodation, and even Stella McCartney’s personal chef who works closeby, is at the church, cooking lunch for survivors who have been offered refuge there.
He stated sadly that:
“Some people inside are distraught, some people are feeling completely at sea and lost, not knowing what do do.
We sit there thinking, what would Christ do in this situation? He would show compassion, he would weep with those who weep, and he would extend hope and joy to people in him.
The big question of, “Where is God which we saw in things like the terrorist outrages and the tsunami?” –
the answer is, God is present in Jesus Christ through his people. And that’s why inside at the moment you see all sorts of people giving up all their time to help out in any way they can.
The God of the Bible does not pretend that this world is supposed to be this way. The world bears the scars of a world out of kilter with the God who made it.”
Also at Latymer Community Church, Buchan Lennon is helping coordinate the food donation and distribution efforts, stating that they have to bring Jesus to the people in any way that they can:
“We just want to bring Jesus to people in whatever way that works“.
He had arrived at work when the pastor called him and asked him to come and help at the church instead.
“This has been an overwhelming response,‘”he said. “Construction workers had given their time to the relief effort, it’s just huge huge help from anyone and everyone.”
And also Tabernacle Christian Centre, Pastor Derek Wilson, who runs church with his wife Pastor Paulette stated:
“The community has been terrific. They have come together from all over to help out and give support. to this real tragedy.”
He also announced that the Church’s school in Holland Park had a former pupil aged 12 who was missing and minutes before speaking to ‘Christian Today’, he heard that she had been found in the hospital.
“Disasters happen everywhere,” Wilson confessed. But he said this disaster, by what he was being told, “was down to human beings, not God” He suggested that mistakes had been made in the refurbishment of the tower which left it inadequately protected against fire but notwithstanding, God would always offer comfort:
‘The church communities have come together with those made homeless and we are offering our comfort and our support. God is right there in the midst of disaster, all the time.”