Two Adventist congregations in London (U.K.) have joined recent demonstrations against gun and knife violence. On May 7 the Pathfinder Club drum corps of the Hackney church led the march in the community in the west of metro London which included the mayor and town council members as well as religious leaders from the Church of England, Methodist church, United Reformed Church, Stamford Hill mosque and the Adventist denomination.
A total of 62 people have lost their lives in London this year and a quarter of those were in Hackney and the majority were young people, reported the Adventist denomination’s British Union Conference news service. “We are walking today to say enough is enough,” said Ian Rathbone, a civic leader who serves on the town council.
A week earlier, on Sunday 29 April members of the Croydon Adventist church had gathered with hundreds of Christians in a march for peace in their borough in the south of metro London. Equipped with flags, songs and prayers, hundreds of believers marched through Croydon’s busy town centre. Shoppers looked startled to see a crowd of people, united in a common peaceful purpose.
Led by leaders of various churches in the area and relatives of the victims of violence, the crowd intermittently stopped to pray in unison at troubled hotspots or places where lives had been lost. As the shoppers’ Sunday afternoon was momentary interrupted, silence and respect prevailed as the procession moved on with the singing of familiar hymns including “How great is our God.”
“More than ever there is a recognition among Adventists in this great city that we need to engage with the community, to meet their needs and win their confidence, in order to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. This event served as a reminder to the community that as Christians we are present, and we still care passionately and will not stand idly by while others suffer,” stated the British Union Conference in its report on the march.
The Adventist solidarity was evident as Pastor Alex Mareniuc, youth pastor at the Croydon church, led one of the prayers which focused on justice in the community. The event culminated in the Queen’s Gardens, as religious leaders from the neighborhood prayed for the nearby council headquarters, police station, and Home Office. Pastor Mareniuc talked with the chief inspector of police for the area and they agreed on a working relationship between the church and local public services.
Children, youth and senior adults from the congregation all came out to support the march. To see a 5-minute video report, click here.