An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Did you defend your church during the riots?

Did you see the Sikhs featured on TV guarding their temple in Neasden against possible looters during the riots this week? The sight of large numbers of men standing in a protective manner with an attitude that quite obviously demonstrated their willingness to defend their house of worship against any invasion quite moved me to consider whether I would be willing to do the same for my church.

In all honesty, I think I would have if there had been a critical mass of Anglicans standing with me. I would not have been foolish enough to do it on my own. I bet many of you would have been willing to do the same too. Why didn't we then? This is an academic question for me because our area was spared the carnage but that is beside the point.

St Mark's in Battersea Rise was looted and the Rector, Rev Paul Perkin, and his son could only watch as looters took everything from the church. The looters piled goods in the garden and waited for cars to turn up into which they loaded what they had stolen. Apparently there were 1,000 looters. I don't think us Anglicans of small congregation churches would have stood a chance.

A situation laid bare. Not only have people lost interest in religion but they have no respect for it either. I may not have an interest in the Jedi Knights order but I would not dream of rampaging through their temple or whatever they call their house of worship. There is a difference. A lack of respect is the nadir of losing interest in religion. It doesn't get any worse.

This is not the Church's fault. Some people just aren't interested and worship materialism instead. I have blamed the church in the past for being too introspective and for focussing too much on gender bias and sexual orientation. I still think these attitudes keep the moderate believer away. However, the immorality of looters of churches isn't the fault of the CoE.  


  1. The lack of respect is not just for religion but extends into every ethical and principled system of modern life. Sadly lack of respect for anything and everything is at the very root of this type of behaviour.
    What a pity we can't harness this vast storehouse of energy for the good of the whole community.

  2. We've never even been vandalised. We've had a church charity shop for thirty years, all sorts of community groups use the premises, and there's no antagonism at all. I can't imagine there being any need to defend the premises. I was a little worried about the Muslim nursery over the way, but they were OK.

  3. Apologies for the late response to your comments. I have been away.
    Ray, the youth do have a lot of energy but if only a moral compass was available to guide this energy force.

    Robert, your comments speaks of multiculturalism at its best.

  4. Good Lord. I had no idea a church so near me had also been victim to the looters. Is there any news about fundraisers or anything that can be done?

    We live in an age where there is no respect for anything. We have become so thoroughly materialistic not just in terms of wanting the material, but also the way we view our fellow creatures - human and animal - in a materialistic manner. There is no longer any regard for a spiritual/transcendent/holistic understanding which is required to give meaning to ethics and values.

    What a mission we have on our hands, eh?

  5. Hi Biscuitsnapper,
    I have emailed Rev Perkins at the church to enquire about his and his congregation's wellbeing. Thank you for the prompt.

  6. As a member of St Mark's Battersea, with responsibility for our website, I've just seen your kind message to Rev Perkin and have forwarded it to him. Unfortunately your report of the looting around St Mark's has rather mis-understood Paul's original reports (e.g.

    Yes, Paul watched on as looters used the church gardens to store loot, but it was taken from Clapham Junction shops, not from the church.

    Saying that, we were shocked by the actions around us in the community we serve and like many we will be re-doubling our efforts to reach out to community in need, both victims and perpetrators in the recent riots.

    Andy Read

  7. PS Perhaps this link to some of our current community activity might be of interest: St Mark's Community page

  8. Hi Andy,
    Thank you for putting the record straight and I am glad the church wasn't looted.
    We will pray for the wellbeing of your congregation.