As Christians prepared for Easter, this was also a week where others were observing Ramadan or getting ready for Passover. Others just came out of curiosity, seeing neighbours, community leaders, faith leaders and strangers, united in the words of “We Welcome.”

Across the road from St Thomas’ Church on a Wednesday evening in Holy week, people came and gathered, on common land in the heart of Stamford Hill in Hackney to show solidarity and hope with the people of Ukraine.

This was a powerful symbolic act of remembrance and reflection for those suffering from conflict and displacement, but also a public civic response to supporting and welcoming refugees, wherever they may be journeying from, to the neighbourhood.

The event was led by Father William Taylor, vicar of St Thomas’ Church and chair of Clapton Commons. We were also privileged to be joined by, Jackie Benjamin, head teacher of Oldhill community school, the Ven Peter Farley-Moore, newly installed Archdeacon of Hackney,

Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, Father Dorote of the Georgian Orthodox Cathedral and Lord Maurice Glasman of Stamford Hill. Their words, some out of lived experience of being a refugee, were important and hopeful but a reminder that while words are needed to make sense of a crisis, so are actions. We were reminded by Rabbi Gluck that “we are a community of communities”.  Last night was a demonstration of that unity and a renewal of the need to come together as a community of people in solidarity, compassion, support and hospitality, but also to seek the path of peace and justice in our world.

Joe Walker
Director of Clapton Common