THE Area Bishop of Kensington, Dr Graham Tomlin, has invited churches in the diocese of London and further afield to toll their bells 72 times at 7 p.m. on 14 June, to mark the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire.
Dr Tomlin has been campaigning for ex-residents, victims, and their families since he witnessed first-hand the fire that destroyed the tower block and killed 72 people in North Kensington, west London, on 14 June 2017 (News, 16 June 2017).
In his 2019 report The Social Legacy of Grenfell, based on conversations with residents, volunteers, community groups, faith leaders, and activists, among others, Dr Tomlin described the fire as “a seismic moment in both local and national life” which highlighted issues of social inequality, poverty, immigration, housing, and the part played by local and national government (News, 7 June 2019).
Last year, more than 100 churches, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Southwark Cathedral, joined his campaign to mark the third anniversary with remembrance services and bell-tolling (News, 21 June 2020).
In a letter to diocesan bishops and the incumbents of churches in London this week, Dr Tomlin writes that the tragedy was not London-centric, but one that affected all communities in the UK, and which continues to have an impact on people caught up in the ongoing cladding crisis (News, 26 March).
He said on Tuesday: “There is a sense that, until some measure of justice and closure has been achieved through the Grenfell public inquiry, and particularly bearing in mind those who continue to be affected by the cladding crisis, it is important to keep the memory of Grenfell in the public consciousness.”
Grenfell United, the bereaved families’ and survivors’ group, thanked faith communities for standing in solidarity with them.