Four days after the tragic fire at Notting Hill, I was about to lead a World Church service in Nantwich MC when one of our Supernumerary ministers grasped me by the hand saying “we must pray for Notting Hill MC and their minister Rev Mike Long, the news bulletins haven’t said that the church pictured is a Methodist Church but I recognised Mike”. So we prayed not only for those caught up in the inferno at Grenfell Tower but also for the church that had responded immediately to people that were devastated, traumatised and left homeless by the event.
Having returned from Conference on Thursday I felt that I needed to go to Notting Hill, to sit, pray and worship alongside them. Thameslink had been carrying out overnight and weekend maintenance on our line, but amazingly the first train to run on Sunday was just in time to allow me to arrive at Notting Hill for their service at 11am.
Today’s photo taken at the entrance of the church shows tributes left by loved ones. Round the corner were placards demanding answers and justice alongside pictures and names of missing persons. Then, amazingly written in chalk on the flagstones were the words ‘Love thy neighbour’
‘Loving thy neighbour’ is what the people of Notting Hill have been doing and the loving and caring continues. Much work is ongoing – distributing donated items and setting up post traumatic counselling sessions. Work enabling people to come together in their grief and anger will continue for months, possibly years.
The congregation at Notting Hill are just like you and me, a group of ordinary folk and I was deeply moved by the extraordinary lengths to which they have gone to show love for their neighbours.
‘The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers (and sisters) of mine, you did for me.’ Matt 25: 40