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Viewpoint from Rev Peter Timothy 30/06/2017 

Peter TimothyRev Peter Timothy
Minister, Park Baptist Church

as published in the Yarmouth Mercury


In a letter to the nation to mark her official birthday earlier this month, the Queen described “a very sombre national mood”

Terrorist attacks in London and Manchester and the tragic Grenfell Tower fire cause us to reflect on the fragility of life, whilst the General Election result added to a wider sense of national uncertainty

It has undoubtedly been a traumatic 12 months, but amidst the chaos there have been signs of genuine hope, as communities rally together and reveal a sense of togetherness some presumed long gone

dove leftQueues of people - of all faiths and none - lined up outside churches and mosques to donate clothes, food and water to the fire victims. Everyday people refusing to buckle to the threats posed by would-be terrorists; indignant at the thought that anyone could scare them away from their daily routines

Popular culture dubs this “the British spirit” - a phrase most of us are familiar with but would likely struggle to fully explain. Forged in the rubble of Luftwaffe-bombed towns and cities, a generation refused to give up and stood together as one. The British spirit soars only when we show the whole to be greater than the sum of our parts. It is revealed when we put our differences aside

It is a celebration of localised humanity; the common bonds we share as people living alongside each other. It transcends age, gender, sexuality, faith, even nationality - because the British spirit belongs to this land, regardless of who lives in it

As a church leader, I have been encouraged by the re-emergence of the British spirit, embodied by  ‘The Great Get Together’ where over 120,000 events were organised across the country to draw people together in memory of the murdered MP, Jo Cox

Dove rightIt made me wonder how the community of Great Yarmouth might express togetherness, holding an eclectic mix of people in a town plagued by poverty? How might we put our differences aside to embrace the things that draw us together, in order to create a better, healthier, happier society?

I believe the start of answering this lies in recognising our inherent selfishness. Our lives are inevitably shaped by a world which promotes individualism above all else. But recent events have reminded us of the power of people coming together

I enjoy leading a church which is committed to creating a loving community, where every individual is valued and included. But I long to see that replicated across our town

As we approach the summer, a series of festivals offer the opportunity for the people of Great Yarmouth to come together. Why not use that as a springboard to get to know your neighbours? Or to speak with someone new. There is power to be found when individuals draw together. Let us harness that and be greater than the sum of our parts

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