Day two of the Summer School and the focus was on ‘divided cities and the culture of neglect’.
A culture of neglect
David Smith expanded on Monday’s lecture, looking at Rome and Roman society. A society which boasted of its great achievements without concern for the squalor, humiliation and death so endemic to life there for so many of its population. Can the same not be said of London? Those taking pride in this city, recently voted the most influential city in the world, so often forget the overcrowding, shame and neglect with which so many of London's inhabitants struggle on a daily basis on our estates. A struggle which Efrem Buckle unpacked in the morning's second session.
God is bigger than the issues of housing estates
In his session, Efrem spoke about the history of estates, the utopian ideals behind their creation which ultimately failed and created financially-, socially- and spiritually-deprived areas. Estates have become places where both gangs and victim mentality are common, and stereotyping by outsiders means councils and the police aren't as quick to respond as they might otherwise do - creating a culture of neglect. The gospel is desperately needed on these estates, just as it was in Ancient Rome. Paul challenged Roman society's way of thinking when he wrote that all are to be honoured as God does not show favouritism (Romans 2:10,11). This is the message that the church of today needs to take to those who live under the culture of neglect: God is bigger than the issues of housing estates.
Church planting in Brixton
In the afternoon, the group headed off to Brixton where Jason Marriner, a church planter from the local area, took them on a tour of the area. He showed them around Brixton market, some of the areas that have become gentrified in recent years but also a project set up to bring in children and teenagers who are in danger of being recruited into gangs.