St Mary Magdalene † St Bartholomew † St Alban †
Sunday 11th September 2011
Mammon and God
Next Tuesday (the 13th) sees the opening of Westfield Stratford City – the largest indoor shopping mall in Europe. The complex is expected to be a major economic boost to Newham and create hundreds of new jobs in its shops, restaurants, hotels and offices.
It also forms the gateway to the Olympic Park and, I think, will bring home to many of us the reality of next year’s games and is the first tangible step in the regeneration of that part of the borough. The whole development will eventually include housing, offices and, the entire Olympic Park site.
But it isn’t all about money: God will be there too. For some years now an ad-hoc group of individual Christians and Churches, with the support of the major denominations, including this diocese, has been meeting under the name of “inSpire” to try to establish a “Christian presence” within the development. “inSpire” has now been given the lease on the “Rest-and-Faith” space in the shopping mall, (on the 3rd floor, near the Food Court!). This space, called “inSpiration”, consists of a room for up to 30 people and will be available those of all faiths (or none) for prayer, contemplation, religious meetings and worship.
It will be staffed by Christian volunteers working on a rota system between 11.00am and 7.00pm (5.00 pm on Sundays) seven days a week. This presents quite a challenge and opportunities for Christian ministry. If you might be interested in this please see Andrew or Shirley at Barts or go to www.stratfordchurches.co.uk/inspire/index.html. We see this as a new “expression” of Church and the first step in developing Christian ministry in the whole complex.
But, whatever you do, please drop by when you visit Westfield and say “hello”.