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A 'lament vigil' for victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has been organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association at St John's Church, Notting Hill for Friday 16th June.
It is hoped the event will help grieving victims, their family and friends and the local community cope with their loss and shared pain.
Date: Friday 16th June 2017
Location: Green outside St John's Church, Landsdowne Crescent, Notting Hill, W11 2NN
Event: Short 15 minute service, Urdu Bible recital, Arabic poem recital, Parishioners lament and Bagpiper lament. Please bring candles and flowers
Dr William Taylor, Police Chaplain for the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and Vicar of St John's Church, said:
“Mindful of the pain of our neighbours and friends at this tragic time, we wish to hold a public lament for all affected by this tragedy.
We will hold the vigil at 9.30pm on Friday 16th June 2017 in the grounds of St John’s Church - we are holding the vigil outside as a reminder that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and all that dwell in it’. The vigil is organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association and is open to people of all faith and none. It will be short act of worship accompanied by a solo bagpiper playing a lament.
This is an opportunity for us to grieve as a community and we welcome you to join us.”
During the event Dr William will give a short address and a lament written by a parishioner will also be read out.
Juliet Chowdhry a trustee of the BPCA will be reading a passage from the bible in Urdu and an Arabic poem will be read out by a Muslim leader.
The event is open to people of all faiths and no faith.
Wilson Chowdhry and Dr William Taylor
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:
"When I learned about the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower I felt moved to help, I immediately drove from East London to West Kensington to offer water to survivors. The fear and anxiety amongst survivors was palpable and I heard some truly harrowing accounts of the blaze.
"The size and scale of the human tragedy left me feeling obliged to help and I have been involved in the local disaster recovery programme since the first day. (click here)
"Conversations with survivors and members of the local community indicated a universal desire to remember the victim and share communal grief. The ongoing police/fire service investigation with an extremely wide cordon placed about the tower, have prevented any shrines appearing where people would usually hold vigils and collectively lay flowers for the dead.
"Today the cordon reduced in size and that led me to engage with Dr William Taylor and seek his permission for a community vigil. This will allow some succour to the local community and an opportunity for collective grieving."
Theresa May Prime Minister of the UK, attended local hospitals and met survivors of the blaze yesterday. A statement on the Government's website read as follows:
A Downing Street spokesperson said:
“The Prime Minister is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life in the Grenfell Tower and is being kept constantly updated on the situation.
“She has asked for a cross-government meeting at the Civil Contingencies Secretariat to take place at 4pm to co-ordinate the response and ensure the government is ready to assist the emergency services and local authorities as necessary.
“The Prime Minister’s thoughts are with all of those affected by this terrible incident and the emergency services, who are working tirelessly in very difficult circumstances.”
Sadiq Khan Mayor of London spoke at a public meeting within Kensington Methodist Church. Whilst walking to a street press conference he was ridiculed and blamed for ignoring the plight of London's most needy by an amassed crowd. He has promised an inquiry into the Renfell tragedy which was met with derision and abuse by many who desired a quick response not a protracted bureaucratic process. Despite being only a metre away from Sadiq Khan Wilson Chowdhry could not hear a word the Mayor of London spoke. It is believed that Theresa May avoided a similar public berating in a community that is in the midst of some serious soul searching. From the community reaction to the visit of Sadiq Khan it is evident that their is great pain and a desire for justice for the families any protracted inquiry will only deepen local and london-wide resentment.
A video of Sadiq Khan's visited has been posted to Wilson Chowdhry's Facebook page and can be viewed (here)
Churches and community groups are no longer taking physical donations for the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze. This is a logistical decision based on a lack of capacity to cope with the amazing generosity of British people. Churches are all now calling for cash donations and one way to donate is to channel donations through the British Pakistani Christian Association. If you wish to donate towards the resettlement and restoration of the lives of victims please (click here)
Wilson and Dr William by the St Johns Church green area where the vigil will be held.