Pan London Churches Serious Violence Summit
Over two hundred and fifty people from churches across London gathered at Southwark Cathedral on Tuesday 13 November for a summit on the increasing violence in the capital. Recognising that this is not an issue for London alone those present sought to find ways of working to seek to halt the violence and killing.
During the event, the delegates heard about the administrative, church, youth, school and police viewpoints from guest speakers. The Revd Les Isaac, CEO of Ascension Trust, called for an end to the killings in months, rather than the years it has been suggested it might take, and spoke of the need “to get out and understand what young people need and what can help them to move away from violence”. Mercia Perin, a former Mentor with XLP, got the biggest reaction of the day when she spoke from the young person’s viewpoint. She reminded people of the African proverb ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ but went on to say “but if that child doesn’t feel part of the village, they will burn it down to feel its warmth”. The speakers were followed by a series of workshops looking at how churches can be a part of the solution to this problem.
As the day drew to a close delegates heard feedback from the workshops, culminating in a declaration from the Bishops present who committed to working with each other, ecumenical partners, the wider community and young people to pilot new initiatives in three Boroughs across London, which will report back in a year’s time.
The event ended with worship led by the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, and the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, who said “Those who were present committed themselves to working individually with their congregations and, as churches across the whole of London, to make peacebuilding a major part of our life together”.