Editor’s comment: Church isn’t exactly doing Lord’s work

The Celestial Church of Christ held a protest on Sunday following eviction from its Cloudesley Squar

The Celestial Church of Christ held a protest on Sunday following eviction from its Cloudesley Square home. Picture: DAVID OGUNBOYE - Credit: Archant

On first glance, the eviction of a Barnsbury congregation doesn’t seem dreadfully Christian.

So it might be helpful to remind readers that the Church of England isn’t just a community, or group of communities, but also functions to some extent as a business.

It has an investment portfolio and boasts on its website of having generated an 11.6 per cent return in 2016 “through active management of a high quality set of properties”.

After a few seconds on a popular search engine I found reports spanning the last decade of the Church of England and Church of Scotland evicting (and in one case suing) not just congregations but also a nursery, a group of charities and a scouting organisation.

It’s particularly troubling to hear the church secretary’s claim that the staff and congregation were in effect forced out through the impossible requirement that they take on an eyewatering repair bill as a condition of using the building. Troubling, too, is his allegation that the same condition would not have been imposed on a white congregation.

The Church has a history of violent, murderous racism that dates back centuries. Wars have been fought in its name, both ancient and modern. It benefited from slavery, for which it apologised in 2006.

But like many, including the congregation at the Celestial Church of Christ, I also know vital, selfless community work can be done in the name of Christianity. None of us is perfect, but the Diocese is behaving no differently from any other unscrupulous, profiteering private landlord.

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It is hard to see what end could possibly be served by evicting these people in such a humiliating and aggressive way. Whatever god/s you believe in, it is hardly the Lord’s work.

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