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Everyone is welcome

I grew up in North London. Some of you know that, you've worked out my accent isn't local and that my support of Tottenham Hotspur can only be credited to growing up close to their home in London. My earliest memories date from the time my Dad was the curate in a church in Tollington Park (which actually is much closer to the old Arsenal ground at Highbury). It was a fabulous church – much smaller in reality than I remember it as a 4-8 year old, of course. The vicar and his wife were my godparents, 'the Vicar' (in my childhood, there was only one) and Roi. You may think that's an unusual name, it is: Roi was Burmese. 'The Vicar' had been a missionary out among the Kachin people in Burma (as it was then, Myanmar now) and had married locally. She and their large brood of children came back with him at the end of his time there to England, for her and the children a completely foreign country.

In the church I grew up in, Roi was not unusual. I remember there being people from Singapore, from Mauritius, Uganda, from nearly every island of the Caribbean as well as a few proper east-enders. It was a church of great variety and diversity. And everyone was welcome. Everyone was at home. I would never have dreamed of thinking that the differences meant that anyone was not part of the Church.

There is some diversity locally, not as much as I grew up with. But those memories of a church of all colours, accents, attitudes to time (!), everything different but the common faith in Jesus remind me of what Church is supposed to be: every age, every colour, every nationality represented and fully part of the family. Here everyone is welcome, even me.

St. Peter's Church

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