I have a dream...
A few months ago we decided to think about our vision for the local area as a church - what did we believe God wanted to do in Barking and Dagenham, and how does he feel about the people who live here? Together, we came up with this speech that defies what many people would say about our borough.
Today we declare a new hope over the Borough of Barking and Dagenham.
We see it spread from individual to individual… to family, to friends, to neighbours.
A message of hope that multiplies without limit and transforms whole neighbourhoods.
A desperation grows in our Nation – a desperation for this hope.
A burning desire to rewrite the future of children who see fifty years on benefits as their inheritance, abuse and addiction as their daily bread.
A longing to see adults back in fulfilling employment and children back at school.
I have a dream that the disaffected, poor and vulnerable, those who are exiled and rejected in their own communities, will be brought home.
They will be prepared to step into the identity and purpose chosen for them before their birth.
I see this hope in our borough, I see a new Barking and Dagenham
I see neighbours stepping in to help one another, with no expectation of return.
I see the fatherless placed in families that care about them, with children given the guidance and discipline they need.
I see parents equipped to raise their children, confident to tread the path that lays before them.
I see schoolchildren who care about their teachers, class mates and cleaners.
Children who pray and see change, and pray some more.
Teachers who follow their lead and begin acting as team.
Results rise and bullying is wiped out.
Our schools are the very best, and they serve the community.
I see schools finding solutions and passionately sharing them, holding back nothing for themselves.
I see young people inspired with a righteous desire to redesign their packaging.
They light up as they are touched by their Father, as they realise their heritage.
They are switched on, contagious.
They forge the way for generations of young history makers to make their mark. They embody respect and compassion; they are the antithesis of ‘anti-social’.
This hope brings forth new dreams
I have a dream of church walls being pulled down, of an inclusive community living in God’s presence and inviting others to join.
I see all people of all faiths feeling accepted in this community and coming to know the truth.
It spreads like a virus as one person touches another.
It is the beating heart of society, through which its life blood flows.
Councils and governments bend their ears, addicted to the sound of freedom and justice they hear.
They will listen to the clear voices of children that cut through destructive bureaucracy with authority and compassion for real people.
Voices that declare the flowers amongst the weeds are worth saving.
I have a dream that one day our story will be recounted by children celebrating its message of hope.
It will inspire them to stand up for justice and righteousness, the next generation of pioneers.
Now is the time for breaking through, for stepping into the broad place.
This is the beginning of a new day, the dawn of light and life for Barking and Dagenham –
the restoration of value and quality.
Its people will share in the richness of the community,
Active and constructive relationships between young and old, and amongst all races, religions and genders -
That’s the Dagenham standard.
We will see mass immigration, and those who move in will naturally adopt our inclusive way of life.
The borough will overflow as political boundaries dissolve in the presence of real relationship.
I have a dream of a borough that is run on grace rather than law.
I see liberation.
I see the church as it is called to be.
I see a community.
I see a movement.