Café Forever on the Isle of Dogs in London, will sadly not be continuing.
It’s difficult to know where to start, especially when announcing the closure of somewhere which has been the source of so much joy and hope. Café Forever has provided a vibrant space where people from the local community have come to relax, connect and chat, while enjoying good value food and drink. It offered opportunities to hear the gospel, in ways that served the local community well.
Indeed, it is not a decision which we have taken lightly or quickly. It is important for us as a mission, not simply to keep doing what we’ve always done, but in the context of an ever-changing London, to prayerfully weigh and evaluate everything we do as stewards of an effective gospel ministry. We spent the past year reviewing all our ministries and considering how we can work in greater partnership with churches to take the good news of Jesus to even more people in London who are least likely to hear it. In order to do this, we are letting go of some of the projects we’ve been running by ourselves.
It would be especially sad if we were forced to close due to the financial pressures compounded by the global pandemic.
But this is not the case.
What Coronavirus has done is to make the closure of Café Forever harder to manage. Café Forever has been closed since the beginning of lockdown in March of this year. The pre-Coronavirus plan had been to explore options for others to take on the running of the café. Having explored this however, there are no suitable options at this time, and so the café is now closed.
Our mission is to work alongside the churches of London to reach the least reached communities – where people are least likely to have a Christian friend to tell them the good news of Jesus Christ. We estimate that’s around three million Londoners who will likely never hear the gospel during their lifetime. It’s a huge task, but it’s one which we are completely committed to. It’s also a task which will require the focus of all our resources. And so, whilst ministries such as the café and activities provided by Café Forever are much-needed across London, they can be very resource intensive. We believe it’s right to instead use the Café Forever building and resources in launching out further, alongside local churches, to share the truth of Jesus with even more of the least reached communities in the Isle of Dogs.
And that is where it gets exciting.
Our new aim will be to work alongside local churches to make use of the building, which is still owned by LCM, to reach the marginalised and least reached on the needy estates in Tower Hamlets with the gospel. Our prayer is that youth ministries in particular will continue, flourish and grow. Watch this space!
Please do pray for the team and the wider Café Forever community at this time. It’s a chance to remember all that God has done through Café Forever over the years and to give him thanks
It’s also an opportunity to look ahead with hope.
Thank you for all of your continued support for London City Mission. We are really excited about what God has in store for London in the coming years. And we look forward to witnessing this with you!