Rededication of the Bells by Lyn Brown MP for West Ham
From Lyn Brown MP for West Ham, who was unable to participate in the rededication so sent these words:
I am very sad not to be with you, as you honour the bravery of Newham residents.
It is typical, especially in time of need, for all our communities to unite and to stand against terror and oppression. Worshippers in this Tabernacle have, time and again, come together with the rich diversity of faith groups about us, to defend and to preserve our common liberty and to aid those at threat, throughout the world. We do so, knowing that the price is always high.
To-day’s dedication commemorates local men who died in the First World War. They walked the same streets we do. They prayed, or not, as we do. Their families loved them, as we love those dear to us. In death, they showed their love not just of family, friends and workmates, but for this country’s welcoming, tolerant and inclusive vivacity. They bought those ideals with their lives.
Their War happened nearly a century ago. At this very moment, British men and women are, for the fourth time since 1839, in Afghanistan fighting for the same qualities as their forefathers.
When first built, this House of God was rightly described as, “one of beauty and peace.” It was paid for by local subscription, but ours have never been communities rich in money. Our true wealth lies in our spirit and our spirituality. The sacrifice of a few precious coppers, made by widows, wives, mothers and fathers stands as a testament to their faith and gratitude.
As did they, so should we draw inspiration and pride from the example of those we honour and remember in this ceremony.
I hope and pray that these new bells will herald a swift, lasting peace in Afghanistan and a safe return for all the courageous women and men risking their lives on our behalf.
We face to-day many of the same challenges Newham people overcame in the past. Every time the new peal rings out, let it be a reminder of what ordinary people can achieve, when they congregate in harmony and co-operation.