An Unusual Unity
A new documentary has premiered, telling the story of the creation of West London Leaders, and the unlikely partnership which led to the organisation’s creation following the 2011 London Riots.
An Unusual Unity tells the story of the founding of West London Leaders, which was formed in the Borough of Ealing in the aftermath of the 2011 London Riots through the friendship between Fr Andrew Davis, formerly the Vicar of Christ the Saviour Church, and Linda Ward, Senior Church Leader at Bless Community Church.
Fr Andrew comes from the High Anglo-Catholic tradition, while Bless Community Church is independent, and non-sacramental, representing a very different tradition of Christianity. However, both Linda and Fr Andrew knew each other through their work as Governors at Christ the Saviour Primary School, and shared a determination to counter the fear and negativity brought on by the London Riots, particularly towards young people.
To achieve this they brought together Church leaders from across the Borough of Ealing to discuss hosting teams of young adults from Youth with a Mission Mega Cities (YWAM), to help serve the community’s needs, as well as offer a positive image of young people, and bring a sense of normality and hope back to the Borough.
The surprising partnership between Linda and Fr Andrew served as a catalyst for the other attendees, and led to the creation of West London Leaders, an organisation of faith leaders determined to work together towards a shared goal and mission, despite their disparate traditions and approach to prayer.
Thanks to their partnership, churches represented by West London Leaders hosted YWAM for six months in 2011, with youth teams working in a wide range of churches and community projects across Ealing. Today, West London Leaders count among their number over 160 different churches from all forms of Christian thought drawn from the Boroughs of Ealing, Hounslow and Brent
Together, they have worked to introduce new night shelters, and food banks as well as promote new initiatives and projects to increase support for and engagement with charities such as Home4Good, Love 146, and Christians Against Poverty.
Fr Andrew stepped down from West London Leaders when he retired in 2016. However, the partnership between Bless Community Church and Christ the Saviour continues. Linda remains Chair of West London Leaders and is supported by new co-leaders the Revd Peter McKenzie and Fr David Neno.
Linda Ward, the Senior Church Leader at Bless Community Church, said:
“The success of West London Leaders has shown that when Christians from whatever branch of our faith come together we can achieve real and positive change in our community. Fr Andrew and I hoped our partnership would help the Borough heal following the riots in 2011. It has since grown to become a vital forum for church leaders in Ealing, and I am delighted that an Unusual Unity can tell our story, and show some of the good work we have achieved for our community.”
The Revd Peter Mackenzie, Vicar of St John with St James, West Ealing, said:
“It has been a great joy and a huge encouragement to be meeting, praying and working together in mission with brothers and sisters across the Borough and across the spectrum of Christian traditions. Together we have achieved so much more than we could have done separately.”
An Unusual Unity was produced in partnership between Bless Community Church, Christ the Saviour Church, Chris Dart Films and a number of other local West London churches. You can watch the whole documentary via this link.