09 February 2010
Londoners aim to bring a 'light to every street'
Generating a sense of community in London's tourist centre may seem an impossible feat, but Ian and Rosemary Benson are doing just that in a project to bring a "light to every street".
The Bensons run a missionary training network from Buckingham Gate in London, an area that is heaving with tourists and busy commuters. Out of this network has evolved an idea that they hope will be a model to other Christians who want to have an impact in their neighbourhoods, called "Lights in Every Street." The idea behind Lights in Every Street is simple: get to know your neighbours, meet with others to pray for your street, and help people in your street in practical ways.
The Bensons' experience with Lights in Every Street has been one of seeing God's grace in action. They meet with Christians from several churches in the area each week to pray for their street and see how we can help in different ways. Together they have worked on beautifying their street, planting trees, roses and daffodils with over £1,000 collected from neighbours to purchase them. Their gardens are free of litter with grass instead of bare patches of unsightly ground. They've established a Neighbourhood Watch, helped someone pull through depression, had queries from a local office with questions about Christianity, and bought items for the local hostel. Activities have included birthday parties, Bible studies with some interested people, and a picnic in the park.
"We've seen a slightly greater sense of community with actually being able to greet people one knows, even though ours is a very busy street with thousands of tourists," said Ian. "We do have a long way to go, but we thank God for some small beginnings.
Find out more about how you can be a light in your street: www.lightsineverystreet.org