The Doomsday Book of 1086 says these words about Croydon: “In Croydon there is a church”.
And in 2016 the Church in Croydon uses these words to work together in unity so that together we can build the kingdom of Jesus in Croydon.
This autumn, we had the chance to do that, together. In the centre of Croydon is a building called Lunar House – the immigration centre for the whole of the United Kingdom. On a Friday evening in October, the British government announced that the following week hundreds of refugee children were being brought to Britain from the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, France – brought to Britain thanks to the Dublin 3 accord and Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act.
These children were due to be brought to Croydon. Immediately, the Croydon Church responded, from Catholics to Pentecostals, from Baptists to Anglicans, from Quakers to New Churches, joining the civic society group Citizens UK to welcome these children to Britain. Each day as the coach arrived, the Croydon Church welcomed these refugee children with banners, balloons, cheering and applause. Inside Lunar House, the Croydon Church acted as responsible adults for the children as they were interviewed by Home Office staff. Some of the kids described their time in the Jungle as a ‘living hell’, but then described the welcome they received by the Croydon Church that week as “the first time they’d felt loved in ages”.
In Croydon, we’ve worked hard at church unity – that’s why when the call came to be the hands and feet of Jesus we were able to move quickly to go build the kingdom of Jesus in Croydon by helping putting a smile on the faces of these refugee kids.
Written by Rev. Reuben Martin of West Croydon Baptist Church