Kingsway International Christian Centre and the London Markaz
Reader HerRoyalWhyness remarks on the continuing intention of Tablighi Jamaat to extend the Abbeymills Mosque they run (without benefit of up to date planning permission) on the site of the old RTZ Chemical works in West Ham into what they want to be one of the largest Mosques in Europe and in time to form a centrepiece of the London Olympics.
She makes the very valid point that the largest congregation of Christians in the UK are those who attend the Kingsway International Christian Centre and their building was demolished as part of the Olympic Park. They are currently in modest accommodation and their church would be a better use of the Abbeymills site.
Leaving aside the cost of clearing the site of pollution from its former use manufacturing sulphuric acid, Tablighi Jamaat have access to the wealth and all the perfumes of Arabia while the KICC congregation are from more modest means, the idea has merit.
Currently KICC are meeting in what used to be the Cameo Bingo Hall in Hoe Street Leyton, where I grew up. Not the bingo hall, although my mother’s friends went regularly, but one of the streets behind. I believe that they run services constantly throughout the day. As you can see from the photo below even as a bingo hall in the 60s it was small which is why it closed and remained disused for 25 years. It is wonderful to see it clean and repaired and bursting with vitality.
At the moment the elders are negotiating for planning permission to build a large enough church complex, including a cinema and workshops on land at Rainham Marshes Essex. Their congregation live mainly in Hackney, New Ham and Waltham Forest. To get to the site in Essex will mean bussing the congregation in and out every Sunday, a round trip of nearly 40 miles which is just not practical. A church needs to be near the congregation it serves.
I met some ladies of KICC doing evangelising in Walthamstow High Street (a street market about a half mile away from the church in Hoe Street) last year. Evangelising to certain elements of the population of Walthamstow is brave but vital work.
Meanwhile the Abbeymills website is down and they have not honoured their promise made last year to keep the interested people who attended the open day up to date, nor did they arrange the second open day expected last summer. All they have done is painted the mosque cream for Ramadan and built a mihrab facing the District line.
It may be quiet at the moment but I doubt we have heard the last of the scheme.
Posted on 01/31/2009 3:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax