'An amazing outpouring of kindness and generosity'
A Baptist minister has spoken of the relief efforts following the fire at Grenfell Tower – including those of his own congregation
Westbourne Park Baptist Church in West London is around a mile from Grenfell Tower.
‘Members of the congregation know people who live or have lived in the tower, teach children who live there and are caring for those taken to hospital,’ said its pastor Jem Sewell.
‘As a result, there is a huge impact on us and a desire to help.’
In the immediate aftermath, several Westbourne members volunteered at Latymer Community Church, the church at the heart of the response. The prayer wall that has featured in many press reports is on Latymer’s building.
Westbourne itself received and sorted consignments of clothes in the days following the fire (though please note, it is no longer receiving donations of items, and is passing all financial contributions to colleagues at Latymer Community Church).
The church also offered its offices as temporary accommodation if needed.
Jem has been posting updates about where to volunteer and how to give on the church’s Facebook page.
On the day of the fire he wrote this:
So an update after an eventful day...
The response to the fire tragedy has been immense. Buildings set aside for sleeping those made homeless are pretty full with donations. Thank you, thank you thank you.
At the moment there seems to be enough on the ground but things may change over the coming days, watch this space.
There are some trusted 'Just Giving' pages being set up and I will post a link to these tomorrow.
Thank you to Manoj, Felicia, Wills and Lydia who I know have been volunteering and thank you to those I don't yet know about. Thanks to those who have organised collections we will get them to those in need.
Through the posts he’s revealed some of the emotional impact of the tragedy and its response.
A June 15 post said this:
I make no apology for being a little tearful. I have just returned from the scene of an amazing outpouring of kindness and generosity. Remarkable things are being done in a sacrificial way on the ground. Those who have called from around the UK to see how they can help, thank you.
Another post on June 15 quoted Psalm 74:
So many of us feel helpless, we want to do something, say something, give something but don't know how.
I read the start of Psalm 74 this morning which asks strong questions of God when he appears not to act. There are times when we simply do not understand.