Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day sixteen of our 29 Days of Prayer and Giving for Grace Baptist Partnership. Each day we will focus our attention on a particular church planting, church replanting or church revitalisation project in which we have an interest. We trust you will remember these situations in prayer and that you will take advantage of the opportunity to support the spread of the gospel by means of a donation to Grace Baptist Partnership this month. It will also help us if you will share these requests with your friends by forwarding these emails to them.
16 February 2016
Sky City, Haringey
When Wood Green Shopping City was opened on 13 May 1981 by HM Queen Elizabeth II, hopes were high that this major urban development would ‘transform’ one of London’s poorest boroughs. The six storey high complex – occupied by shops on the first two floors and housing on the upper four floors – promised to bring thousands of shoppers to Wood Green and to improve the lives of the hundreds of people who would live in the development. Without a doubt the former aspiration has been realised as an average of 221,000 customers a week pass through the more than 100 shops and 80 market stalls in the complex. The realisation of the latter aspiration, though, is a bit trickier to measure.
Sky City first came on my radar screen ten years ago when the badly decomposed body of Joyce Vincent was found in her bedsit flat. Her body lay undiscovered for three years as her neighbours assumed the flat was unoccupied and that the odour was coming from nearby waste bins. I found it hard to believe that such a thing had happened – much less that it had happened within just a few minutes walk of where I lived with my family. But it had happened. And I was deeply troubled.
I prayed for the residents of Sky City and asked others to do so as well. Leaflets were put through doors. People were enlisted to knock on doors to speak to people about Christ and His church. We sought (unsuccessfully) to set up an evangelistic meeting in a community centre on the estate. With help from other pastors in North London we conducted a door to door survey of the estate. In fact, as our ministry at the church on Park Ridings drew to an end, my wife and I even completed and submitted paperwork to live in Sky City. That, like seemingly all our other efforts to make headway for the gospel at Sky City – came to nothing.
Despite the lack of any discernible progress during my tenure, Ryan King, the present pastor at Wood Green has pressed on his efforts to bring the gospel to Sky City. Undeterred by residents who predicted no one would come, a series of evangelistic Bible studies were held in the community centre. Over the course of the meetings seven different people did come and hear the gospel. His zeal undiminished by those who say door to door evangelism is ineffective, he – joined by others – has knocked on every door in Sky City countless times. To date, 12 people met on the doors have left the estate to attend meetings at the church building on Park Ridings.
Would you pray that the Lord would continue to work in the lives of those who have heard the gospel in Sky City? Would you pray that the church in Wood Green would be granted patience and persistence in their efforts to continue to preach the gospel in this unique ministry environment? Would you pray that God would make a way for a gospel worker to live on the estate? Would you prayerfully consider how your church can bring the gospel to marginalised people in your own area?
Ryan King recently wrote concerning the people in Sky City. “It is our hope that they will not die unbelieving. It is our commitment that they will not die untold.” Indeed, Ryan. Indeed.
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership