Turkish tea and Jesus


Turkish tea and Jesus


It’s a sunny spring day. A beautiful Friday morning that makes us think of the weekend ahead.

In the outskirts of Enfield, twenty or so people from the local Turkish-speaking community have gathered at Silver Street Community Church to share tea and good conversation.

There will be an English class soon and a Christian course specifically in their heart language afterwards. London City Missionaries run both these classes.

In the meantime, people are sitting at the tables with Turkish tea, dark and sweet, in their glass cups, talking animatedly with their friends.

Silver Street Community Church

The local volunteer advocacy group also works from the premises on Fridays. They pop into the café to see if anyone needs help.

Advocacy volunteer and Silver Street Community Church member Debbie Pibworth says, “Our aim is to help people feel really supported in this space. It's not only through English classes but also through things like administrative support – filling in government forms, accessing medical services and the like. Native English speakers can struggle with the administrative system in this country, let alone someone whose first language isn’t English.”

With every form and every appointment arranged, connections are made, and trust is built into a close relationship that expresses how Jesus cared for others.

And serving behind the scenes with refreshments and fellowship are volunteers from Silver Street Community Church.

Silver Street Community Church

The small church is located just 10 minutes’ walk away from Silver Street station, in a richly diverse area and community.

“It’s an area that's full of life,” explains Luke Crowter, the Senior Pastor.

“There's a lot going on, and like lots of parts of London, it's densely populated and diverse. We’re located in one of the more deprived parts of London. So, we're needy in many ways, and I would say it feels like the spiritual struggle is quite close to the surface.”

For Luke, it’s a wonderful place to do gospel ministry. The work in this area is intense, bringing challenges but also plenty of opportunities to share the good news of Jesus and see how God works in people’s lives.

“All the nations are here on our doorstep. There's an openness to the gospel as well. Most people in this community are religious and willing to talk about the things of God. But the question is which God? So, our work is pointing them to the one true God,” says Luke.

26% of the community around the church are Muslim. Many are from the Turkish-speaking community. “A large proportion of the surrounding area would also say that they're Christians,” says Luke, “but the majority would be non-practicing Christians.”

Luke, Senior Pastor

Support from London City Mission

For the last nine years, LCM Missionary Nimo* has been working with his team alongside Silver Street Community Church to reach out to the Turkish community, offering practical care and access to the gospel. Despite the early church growing rapidly in Turkey, today fewer than 0.1% of people are evangelical or Protestant Christians.

For many Turkish speakers in this community, this ordinary Friday gathering is how they are gently and lovingly introduced to Jesus.

“Nimo and his team have been invaluable in this ministry. Because of their language skills, they are a vital conduit, a touch point, where we can communicate with our Turkish friends. They provide language support by translating sermons on Sunday, as well as language classes and the Christian course in Turkish on Fridays.

“They also help us think through how we do things so that we don’t create any unnecessary barriers to the gospel. They help us think about the refreshments we serve, to avoid serving pork, for example,” says Luke.

“Serving Turkish tea is also an important part of the café. It makes our friends feel at home, and some of the team also love it,” Nimo adds. “These little things play a big role in showing the love Jesus has for us all.”

Luke continues, “Nimo and his team also helped us think culturally about how we treat our physical Bibles. For many of our Turkish friends from Muslim backgrounds, how we treat our physical Bibles will express how much we value the word of God.

Finding true family

Nuriye has been coming to Silver Street Community Church every Friday for the past two years. She moved from Turkey to the UK 17 years ago with her husband, sister, and two children.

She is among the many people who happily stay behind for the Al Massira Bible study. This thirteen-week course, developed by Christians living in Muslim-majority countries, is specifically designed to explain the gospel to people from Muslim backgrounds in their heart language. It takes them on a journey through the Old Testament prophets into the New Testament to help Muslims meet Jesus as the Messiah, using concepts they are more familiar with.

Over tea, Nuriye says the classes are interesting.

“People [at the church] are good, and I learn,” she says.

“This church makes family. Not blood family. But true family.”

It is a heartening and moving endorsement.

Please pray for the ministry at Silver Street Community Church – that many in the Turkish-speaking community will be welcomed into the true family of Jesus.

*Name has been changed

These stories and more are in Changing London - our free magazine! If you'd like to have a copy of the next edition delivered to your home or read the current edition online, do visit