National TV Features UK Local Church’s Community Assistance

Tottenham Lighthouse is helping neighbors counter the effects of the cost-of-living crisis.

British Union Conference News, and Adventist Review
<strong>National TV Features UK Local Church’s Community Assistance</strong>
A local church initiative in London seeks to assist those in the community struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. [Photo: British Union Conference]

An ITV News broadcast on Sunday, January 8, featured the exceptional community outreach of the Tottenham Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist Church in its response to the current cost-of-living crisis in the UK. Interviewed also was the local church pastor, Jude Jeanville, who shared the ethos for reaching out with tangible resources to those in need through the church’s Food Hub.

The Outreach

Realizing the significant needs of individuals struggling to cope with soaring inflation, increased energy bills, and rising fuel costs, Jeanville shared a vision with his church members. He encouraged them to respond in practical ways to meet the daily needs of individuals unable to supply themselves and their families with essential items.

Each week, more than 250 community residents visit the Tottenham Lighthouse church to receive essential resources for their sustenance. Recipients can receive fresh, dried, and tinned foods, a range of household items, and cash to assist them in purchasing additional necessities on two occasions.

The British Union Conference (BUC) Adventist Community Services donated 200 Advent booklets in gift bags, distributed to visitors at the Food Hub on January 7. A cash donation (from the church) was enclosed in each booklet, making a total of £10,000 (around US$12,300) given to the community. This gesture was a focal point of the ITV News coverage.

The Impact

BUC communication and media director Sam Davies reflected on the scope of the initiative. “During the past two years, the consistent humanitarian outreach program by the Tottenham Lighthouse church has significantly impacted the community and the church, resulting in ITV News featuring their latest outreach endeavor in the news on Sunday,” he said. “The good deeds have undoubtedly given the church a positive presence in its community, with increasing numbers continuing to turn to the church for their supply of groceries and other essential foodstuffs.

“Like many congregations within the BUC, Tottenham Lighthouse church has been encouraged to be community focused,” Davies said. “Churches and individuals who have pursued this call have seen engagements from their community members and leaders.… Enoch Kanagaraj, who started a similar program with the Stanborough Park church in Watford a few years ago, attended the Tottenham Lighthouse event to lend a hand. His efforts at the Stanborough Park church have also been a testament to attracting the attention of community leaders who favor humanitarian endeavors.”

Sharon Platt-McDonald, BUC Adventist Community Services director, agreed. “We saw in that positive ITV News coverage, the British media broadcasting what they felt was a newsworthy report of interest and impact, important enough to share with the nation,” she said. “The timely, compassionate, relative, and consistent outreach of the Tottenham Lighthouse church is a wonderful example to the watching world, a credit to our Seventh-day Adventist membership, and a witness of the power of the gospel changing lives for the better in 2023.”

Community Response

The BUC media team, represented by Kofi Osei-Owusu, attended on January 7 to see Tottenham Lighthouse church displaying love in action as the members reached out to their community. He said filming the interaction of church members and community attendees was a heartening experience as he witnessed Christ’s method of ministry through compassionate acts of loving service.

Grateful recipients of the donated goods were thrilled to share their response with Osei-Owusu as he captured the human-interest stories through filming and interviews. Many shared how the church’s intervention has positively affected their lives over the past two years.

Many individuals who visit the Food Hub now also attend church services on Sabbath. One of these attendees is now a baptized member of the Tottenham Lighthouse church. Leaders said this beautiful testimony demonstrates the power of love and truth to transform a life.

Pastoral Reflection

Speaking with Jeanville, his passion for ministry, connecting with people and meeting community needs is evident in the vibrant way he recounts the varied stories of community residents who connect with the church’s outreach initiatives. Commenting on the recent ITV coverage of the Food Hub in action, he said, “We now have the attention of the media. Let’s keep it going, but more importantly, let’s build community…. God wants to do something big through His church for His glory. He wants to give us more extensive opportunities than we can imagine, but it starts with us extending ourselves in compassion and faith.

“The most important principle is love…. You cannot stop love; meeting people’s needs is powerful.

“The Tottenham Lighthouse members stepped outside the box and gave a total of £10,000 sacrificially and equitably distributed with transparency and accountability. Members and the church gave what they did not have because of vision and courageous leadership motivated by love for our fellow men.”

In an appeal to Adventist members, Jeanville reminded them of their mandate:

“The Bible teaches, ‘As much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me’ (Matthew 25:40). The Rich Young Ruler was commanded to ‘go, sell all you have and give to the poor’ (Matthew 19:21).

“God and men will note extraordinary acts of kindness; therein lies our sanctification.”

The original version of this story was posted on the British Union Conference news site.

British Union Conference News, and Adventist Review