14 October 2011
Agu Irukwu nominated for London's most influential list
Pastor Agu, the senior pastor of Jesus House has been nominated for the award alongside other key black church leaders including Rev Nezlin Stirling and the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. The competition is being held as part of Black History Month and includes both living and historic black people. Nominations include people of business, politics, media and the arts, both from the UK and overseas, and cover 200 years of achievement.
Pastor Agu Irukwu joined Jesus House as senior pastor soon after the church began in 1994. In the years since the church has grown dramatically, home now to thousands of people on a Sunday and throughout the week.
Steve Clifford, general director of the Evangelical Alliance commented on Pastor Agu's nomination: "Pastor Agu is a friend and excellent leader and worthy of this nomination. Boris Johnson should be proud to be associated with the leader of a thriving church bringing hope and well-being to its congregation and surrounding community."
Jesus House is engaged in many activities that help build and strengthen community across London. They invest in young people to help them become responsible citizens and leaders. They care for the young, the elderly and the vulnerable in their community. Jesus House runs The Novo Centre, which is a drop-in centre for local residents to get advice and help and also runs homework clubs.
It is because of Jesus House that many are fed through the Manna Project, and each Christmas for the past five years hampers have been distributed to families in need.
Mr Clifford went on to say: "It is so encouraging that some of our key church leaders are recognised in this competition. These are men and women who not only lead churches, but are leaders in their communities. They are an inspiration to men, women and children and this is a great opportunity to support them and celebrate their achievement."
The Evangelical Alliance was therefore deeply disappointed to see Pastor Agu's nomination mocked and attacked by the Evening Standard on 13 October and has called on the paper to apologise for its insulting comments. Mr Clifford said: "Many churchgoers will be shaking their heads in disbelief that rather than celebrating the work of an inspirational leader the paper chose to repeat third party allegations."
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Notes to Editors
The Evangelical Alliance
We are the largest and oldest body representing the UK’s two million evangelical Christians. For more than 165 years, we have been bringing Christians together and helping them listen to, and be heard by, the government, media and society. We’re here to connect people for a shared mission, whether it’s celebrating the Bible, making a difference in our communities or lobbying the government for a better society. From Skye to Southampton, from Coleraine to Cardiff, we work across 79 denominations, 3,500 churches, 750 organisations and thousands of individual members. And we're not just uniting Christians within the UK – we are a founding member of the World Evangelical Alliance, a global network of more than 600 million evangelical Christians. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.