Tuesday, July 13, 2010

An open letter to the Mayor of London concerning Skyride in Ealing this coming Sunday

Dear Mr. Mayor,

I write concerning the Mayor of London’s Skyride in Ealing this coming Sunday.

I cycled regularly in London from my undergraduate days in Bloomsbury in the Sixties until the Nineties when I was a Conservative councilor in this borough for eight years. Commuting by cycle was healthier, cheaper and usually quicker than by motorised public or private transport.

But I never expected roads to be closed for me, parking suspended, buses diverted and other people inconvenienced so that I could cycle with fewer safety concerns.

I have in the past few days spent several hours ascertaining how the congregation of our church will be able to get to our meeting place off The Park. Public information has been very sparse for those of us who live outside the Skyride area but wish to travel into it to worship. I have had to search the websites of Skyride, Ealing Council and Transport for London to find information, which has sometimes been unclear and contradictory. I have had to phone the town hall so that a disabled member can drive to church and park there. Hers will be the only car in the car park. The rest of the motoring congregation will have to find spaces on streets crammed with displacement parking.

There has been to my knowledge no consideration given neither to the needs of worshipping Christians nor to those businesses operating on Sunday. I hope It has not escaped your notice that there is Sunday trading these days as well as Christian worship. Tell me Mr. Mayor, would you close roads around a mosque on a Friday without telling the Imam? So why this secularist and anti-business approach to this coming Sunday in Ealing?

You, sir, will not I trust have forgotten how your predecessor in the office of mayor lost many votes in this borough with his unlamented failed plan for trams along the Uxbridge Road. Do you really think that Skyride will be a vote winner?

Yours faithfully,

The Reverend Graham Weeks
(Chairman of the Borough of Ealing Environment Committee 1992-93.)

P.S. I will be informing Sky that if they continue to inconvenience me in this way they will lose my custom like you will lose my vote.

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Blogger John Braine said...

Hello Graham, I found your comments about Sunday's Skyride interesting and following the links to your website, I'm impressed a real www man of letters!

But, the point is things have to change and I'm sure that we do need prompting from time to time to realise that we cannot all just go on relying on our cars to get us where ever we need to go. Sometimes you need to make a gesture, make a point, do something that gets people to think about what they are doing.
Closing roads on a Sunday in the summer for cyclists does just that and encourages people to just think about getting on their bike.

Anyway I hope you and your congregation are not too inconvenienced on Sunday.


9:53 am  
Blogger Darren said...

Hello Graham,

I too, followed the link from your open letter, and I must say I am dismayed. I agree with John that things to have to change in the long term, and I would have thought this would have been a great opportunity to promote reduced car use/alternative transport options for your congregation on that one day of the year that you are inconvenienced. I am also very concerned that the very people who believe that our world has a creator and who are told many times that they are it's stewards don't appear to live this out (in fact are often detrimental to it). The Church could be a fantastic instigator and a great catalyst for change; the fact that it isn't makes me doubt it's usefulness.


1:01 pm  
Anonymous Pete B said...

As Napolean Hill put it .. “Opportunity often comes in disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.”

Rather than complaining about the difficulty in parking and marginalisation of Christ, just think about the opportunity of all these people on bikes cycling past your front door on Sunday. Why not see hold your church service in the Park in front og the church for an open air service, and encourage people to take a short break from the cycling and share communion with you.

You could offer drinks, or a stop for families - like a mini treasure hunt based on biblical themes.

You could compare how if we love the world a little to do our bit for the environment and save humans and animals that don't know us or care for us ... just think how much bigger God's love for us is that he is concerned for all of us on this planet.

You could have display boards on the impact of climate change on your missionary activities, and how your church is connected across the globe to help people.

You could provide refreshments to the cyclist who go by.

You could join up with all the other churches on the route and use flags or some thing to show the visibility of vibrant churches in the neighbourhood.

You could set up lunch stalls with profits going to the Ealing Soup Kitchen or similar ... to show the outreach your normally do.

So much possibility ...

4:02 pm  

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