13 June 2019
The catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower started in the early hours of 14th June 2017. To mark the second anniversary, Notting Hill Methodist Church will be open for quiet reflection from midnight on Friday. The Revd Mike Long, whose church sits below the tower, said:
“We want people to know they have somewhere to come if they need or wish to be together, not out of some duty, but if they feel it would help in some small way.”
Over the last two years the Church and Revd Long have responded to the tragedy, offering pastoral and practical support and have hosted many community meetings and agencies supporting the people affected by the fire.
“Major urgent building works more recently mean we have had less resource available but from the Autumn with new community spaces including a kitchen, we hope to focus on young people and children as well as the wide spread challenge of loneliness amongst older people”, said Revd Long.
Since the first anniversary, a new foodbank has opened in the Church. “It was planned before the fire”, said Revd Long. Operated with the Trussell Trust, the foodbank offers support for the local community to which Universal Credit was rolled out last December.
Speaking about what has changed for people since the first anniversary, Revd Long, said: “Everyone knows there will be a long wait for answers and decisions to be made about the future for the tower. Patience is about actively sticking it out, enduring the limbo. This is hard for many, especially those worried about for example, the long term impact of the fire on the environment.”
Revd Long and other faith leaders will take part in a vigil in the evening of 14th June before what has become a monthly silent walk starting and ending at Notting Hill Methodist Church. “Faith can help people connect with their feelings and give expression to them”, said, Revd Long.