Community view: Neighbours make us feel as home

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 August 2018


It’s quite odd to move to a home of your own if you’ve been living in accommodation tied to an occupation for years.

Vicarages tend to be big houses and sometimes with large gardens too. Nice, but not quite so much fun to mow all that grass.

So, when we had to choose a home for the next phase of our lives, Christopher and I hoped for something that would give room for the grand piano and thousands of books with not too large a garden – and where else could it be (as far as I was concerned) but in God’s own borough of Newham! We looked at loads of houses until I opened the Newham Recorder and saw what I knew would be just right for us - ‘New This Week!’ We viewed the house next day, made an offer and we’re delighted with our home.

What we couldn’t choose, and yet has been so very important in our lives here, were our neighbours. I hear quite a lot of complaints about neighbours in my work as a councillor but I wouldn’t change ours for the world. They are the loveliest people; we have a Turkish Cypriot family one side and a Bengali family the other; then there’s the Irish couple across the road, next door to the Pakistani family and the Englishman next to them. We all get on well and look out for each other and, while we’re different in all sorts of ways, our hopes for peace, security and harmony are the same.

And it was such an unexpected privilege for us, as Christian priests, to be asked to say prayers when one of our dear Muslim neighbours died and, on another occasion, to be invited in to lead a very mixed group in saying The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) at a ceremony marking the death of a Hindu neighbour.

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