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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

After the Fire

The fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 shocked the nation. A personal tragedy that claimed over 70 lives and affected many more, it exposed inequalities and tensions but also a strong sense of community and resilience and, in particular, a wide range of faith groups that are embedded in the community, and that responded practically, pastorally and professionally in a time of serious need and confusion.

In advance of the one year anniversary of the fire, the parish of St Clement and St James and the religion and society think tank, Theos, will host an evening to reflect on the faith groups’ response.

The evening marks the launch of two publications: After the Fire by Alan Everett, Vicar of St Clement and St James, and After Grenfell: the Faith Groups’ Response by Amy Plender, from Theos. After the Fire is a moving and penetrating account of Alan’s experience at the heart of the mass disaster, while After Grenfell draws on over 30 interviews with faith groups across the community to understand how they were able to respond in the way they did.

In the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, the local parish church became a focal point of the relief effort, and a gathering place for a traumatised community. In the months that followed, it worked closely with other community and faith groups to provide a compassionate network of support.

In this bold and prophetic challenge, Alan Everett shows that the church's response was possible only because it had opened its doors long ago, building relationships with the most marginalised in the community. Its effectiveness was born out of a patient, faithful, unheroic ministry that is all too easily underestimated.

Through gripping reportage and searching theological reflection, After the Fire demonstrates how parish ministry can be a living symbol of God's love, and a vital sign of hope.


Petris Vasks - Lord Open Our Eyes.

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