St Mellitus Justice and Peace Group
Who are we?
There are about 12 regular members of our justice and peace group, and we meet on the second Monday of every month from 7.30 – 9pm (usually) in St Mellitus sacristy (entrance in Evershot Road). New members and visitors are most welcome. No expertise is necessary, and it’s OK to come along just once to see what’s it’s like before deciding whether you want to get involved. No need to tell anyone in advance: just turn up.
What do we do?
Our purpose is to bring all kinds of justice and peace issues to the attention of our parish. At the meetings we discuss what we want to do and then volunteer for whatever we want to help with and have time for. Everyone has a busy life, and no one can do everything. Sometimes we have to drop a plan because no one can give it the necessary time. We do what we can.
Here are some of our activities:
Black Lives Matter
At this time, the disproportionate and tragic effect of the pandemic on Black and Minority Ethnic families, the killing of George Floyd in the USA, and the protests that have followed that killing, remind us powerfully of the profound and destructive impact of racism in our world and in our own community. We recognise that, as a parish, we share the responsibility for actively promoting racial justice. When the parish can gather again after lockdown, we are committed to creating opportunities to discuss what that responsibility means to us and what actions we can take as a parish community. In the meantime we express our solidarity with all those who are bereaved, anxious or angry and with all those engaged in peaceful protest.
Our anti-knife crime campaign continues after successfully raising the £9,000 required to install a weapons disposal bin. The bin was officially inaugurated last autumn. David Lammy MP gave a very powerful speech focussing on the bin as a sign of hope and salvation. Since then, hundreds of weapons have been placed in it, making our neighbourhood safer for all. There has been a good deal of media interest, both locally and nationally.
When the van was driven into the Ramadan crowd outside Muslim Welfare House members of our J & P immediately visited, taking flowers and offering support. Parishioners took part in the solidarity vigils in the following days and 180 signed a letter of condolence which we delivered. We do keep in regular touch with MWH.
At Pentecost we celebrated our ‘Mass of All Nations’. We put a world map at the foot of the altar, inviting everyone to come and put a button on their own country or one they wished to pray for. Afterwards there was a lunch with international dishes, served by the confirmation group.
For Pope Francis’ Day of Creation we had our annual picnic in Finsbury Park.
We have created an email list ‘Friends of J & P’ so that more parishioners can hear about and join in our activities even if they can’t come to J & P meetings in the evenings.
J & P members continue to work with Islington Citizens to support and welcome Syrian refugee families in the area.
For the first time, helped by Caritas Westminster, we organised an inclusive Mass of all gifts, inviting guests with autism and learning difficulties
Four J & P members took part in the silent vigil in Docklands protesting about the arms sales fair at Excel, and we made
an exhibition about the arms trade for our church ‘peace corner’.
In November we held a holy hour of prayer supporting the Vatican conference on nuclear disarmament.
We also held our annual Remembrance Sunday interfaith service in our ‘Peace Garden’ – this year with both Jewish and Muslim visitors.
Profits from the parish Christmas concert went to the Comboni Sisters’ medical work in the Holy Land.
And more… Fairtrade coffee morning, exhibitions for Peace Sunday and on racial justice, cooking meals twice a month for the Catholic Worker refugee community in Harringay, two presentations about Justice & Peace work for our parishioners, leading Stations of the Cross in Lent, hosting a fundraising tea-party to support Prisoners Maintaining Innocence….A busy year.