Opinion: Stand together to weather the storms

PUBLISHED: 08:30 15 February 2020

Ilford Salvation Army's Dr John Clifton wants fatihs to support each other.

Ilford Salvation Army's Dr John Clifton wants fatihs to support each other.


Over the last few weeks, our community has witnessed horrendous incidents of violence. This has shocked us but we must also admit that, in many ways, it has not surprised us.

Knife crime seems to have become a more common occurrence in Ilford and this is alarming for obvious reasons.

I am no expert in crime prevention strategies, but I do know something about the power of community and being a good neighbour.

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In the last week, we have also witnessed the devastation of Storm Ciara and heard warnings about Storm Dennis.

Storms remind me of the oak - that very English tree. Oaks have deep roots that stretch wide to intertwine with the neighbouring tree. This means that when the storm hits, the oak relies on the strength of the neighbouring tree to stay upright.

I would like to challenge the faith communities to be a bit more like the oak trees. We have deep, deep roots in our traditions and in the community, but we must make sure that our roots are stretched outwards to be intertwined.

We must lean on each other, and be a place of safety when the storms and devastation hit, whether that is a storm of high winds, or the storms of violence. Leviticus 19:16 says that we should not stand by idly while the life of our neighbour is in danger. May we stand firm so that we can weather the storms that have come our way in recent days.

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