Honours for the rocks of their community

A campaigning local church which took a stand against street violence has honoured the police, fire and ambulance staff who put their lives on the line in Lambeth each day.

On 2nd June, Brixton Seventh-day Adventist Church hailed members of the emergency services including Mark Burnett (ambulance), Jayson Tough (fire), John Hall and Philip Uma (PCSOs).

The church also recognised members of the congregation who had fundraised for projects locally and globally including:

  • Lynn Thomas, a volunteer since the 1970s, initially with Age Concern (now Age UK) and St John’s Ambulance. She has hosted yearly tea parties for the elderly since 1986
  • Mitzie Walall, who started helping at the church’s weekly mobile soup kitchen more than 20 years ago. Since then she has sent barrels of clothing across the world to families in need in places including Malawi and Trinidad
  • Simon Fraser, who has dedicated the past 18 years of his life to the upkeep of the 19th century church. He endures 5am starts in winter to turn on the building’s boiler and often works late into the evening.

The church has run the Be The Change programme since 2011 as part of its effort to counter violence on the streets.
“We had seen so many stabbings in Brixton, then the London riots [of 2011] and so it was time for us to say enough is enough” says Kellee Halliburton, personal ministries leader at the church.
In May this year a march to Windrush Square, led by Brixton Drumliners, brought together local churches and community groups under a single banner. It was joined by people from across the borough who stood in solidarity with the church and victims of knife crime.
Church member Barbara Harris spoke movingly about the loss of her son in 2008, imploring the community to support each other and show love.
Ferndale ward councillor Irfan Mohammed spoke of the importance of displaying a unity of purpose amid rising knife crime and described his dream of taking all the blades off the streets of London.

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