Yesterday (Tuesday 4 December), Tim Harrold, Andy Blakey and Colin Baker represented Thurrock at a gathering of leaders who make up the London Network of Networks, held on the 30th floor of the Empress State Building round the corner from Earls Court.
The building, which is used by the Metropolitan Police Service, is topped by the revolving restuarnt known as The Orbit. From here there was a panoramic view of much of Greater London.
Some 75 people were present from across all the boroughs of London and surrounding areas. The event began with food and networking. This was followed by the convener of the London Network of Networks, Matt Bird, introducing some speakers, including two borough police chiefs.
The first pointed out that in his area of Merton, in just the 12 miles from Wimbledon to Mitchum, the life-expectancy goes down by 12 years. He saw this as unacceptable in his borough. (But what is the difference of life-expectancy between Orsett and Tilbury?)
The next speaker was a Christian police chief who quoted from Hebrews 12, where it talks about shaking. He said that God is shaking the realms of politics, media and the church. He focussed on three areas of concern:
Christians have answers to the questions and can interpret the ‘dreams’ of society. He cited the image that Patrick Regan (XLP) uses of grey paving stones being everywhere, but when one looks closely in every crack there is life, greenery – the signs of hope.
He concluded by saying, “If your ambition is to build a church, ministry, or reputation, then bless you. If your aim is to build the kingdom of God, then let’s get to work.”
These two sections were followed by prayer for London.
A guy then recounted a visit to New York to visit a conference about church unity across the world. He said that that there are “unity movements” springing up all around the globe. In New Zealand, where a number of churches collapsed during the recent earthquake, instead of rebuidling them all, the churches came together to build just a few buildings in major centres and share their use. In New York, the church has grown by three times in the last decade because of unity.
Matt Bird summed this up by saying it’s all about “Friendship, prayer, and commitment together for community transformation.”
There was then the telling of a dream. A man dreamt he was in his office when the Lord took him to a very high skyscraper which looked out over London. As he looked, he saw that the city was on fire – but he was unsaure of it was a fire of judgement or revival. The Lord said to him, “It’s up to you whether this fire is one of judgement or revival.”
At the end of the dream he looked down at his shoes and noticed they were of a particular kind.
Sometime later, he went to a particular shoeshop to see if he could buy a pari of shoes like he saw int he dream. There was one pair left in his size. He bought them and took them home. Getting them out of the box he noticed that underneath it said “LONDON UNDERGROUND”. The London Network of Networks is like an underground movement of prayer… and the future of London is in our hands.
The Empress State Building is a skyscraper in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. It was built in 1961 and was 100 metres (328 ft) tall with 28 floors, designed by Stone, Toms & Partners.
It was renovated in 2003 to a design by Wilkinson Eyre Architects. Three floors and 17.3 metres (57 ft) were added to its height. ‘Orbit’ is the name given to the private revolving bar on the top floor which offers panoramic views of London.
The building is named after the Empress Hall which formerly stood on the site, and in tribute to the Empire State Building.
The building is occupied by staff from the Metropolitan Police Service who refer to it as ESB – also the name of a local beer, Fuller’s ESB. Some of the upper floors were occupied by staff from Transport for London until 2010.
This building was originally designed as a hotel but was first used by the Admiralty and GCHQ. The Directorate of Naval Shore Telecommunications (formerly the Naval Shore Telecommunications Authority) had their National HQ office here in the 80s & 90s.
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