"…. let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16 (NLT)
On Sabbath, 25 February 2023, there was much praise and thanksgiving to God, as Government agencies recognised the 'good deeds' of Tottenham Lighthouse Seventh-day Adventist church. The Rt Hon MP for Tottenham − David Lammy, visiting the church's Food Hub to witness its impact on the local community, applauding the church members, stated: "I'm here to say a deep, sincere thank you to our Seven Sisters and Seventh-day Adventist Community for all that you are doing on a Tuesday and a Saturday, week after week without fail. For over two years, you have been in service and mission beyond your faith community, and such work mustn't go unnoticed. You don't do it for praise but from a heart of faith and calling."
Food hub experience
Despite the cold weather (3-degree temperature, with biting wintry winds), nearly 200 individuals waited in line to receive their weekly food supply from the various canopy stalls erected outside the church. MP David Lammy joined the volunteers in distributing essential items as requested by recipients.
Also attending were Borough Councillors for Haringey: Cllr Peray Ahmet, Cllr Ibrahim Ali, and Cllr Michelle Simmons-Safo. They spoke with Food Hub attendees to glean their testimonials and get feedback on how this intervention had impacted their lives.
Serving the public at the stalls were Tottenham Lighthouse Pathfinders, British Union Conference (BUC) Director Sharon Platt-McDonald and departmental secretary Shirley Harper. As she served each attendee, Platt-McDonald could converse with and even pray with individuals as they expressed their gratitude and shared their life challenges. One lady (Sylvia), noting the demeanour of those serving, enthused: "I sense such peace on each of you. It is so strong. I want that peace." Right there, Sylvia was prayed for, requesting God to bring peace into her life.
Also uplifting were the conversations with 8 Muslim women who regularly attend the Food Hub and Sabbath church services. Greeting them with the customary salutation – "As-Salam-U-Alaikum" opened the way to deeper conversations. They each shared how blessed they have been attending the weekly Food Hub and the difference it made to their lives.
Ending his visit, MP David Lammy addressed the church leaders and Food Hub volunteers. Concluding his speech, he further expressed gratitude:
"Thank you for all you are doing in this tough economic time − for the food, generosity and organisation; for your selfless outreach and service to the diverse families and communities in Tottenham, Haringey and beyond. You are a faith community of influence. I am a Christian, and I know that God is looking down with joy at the work being done here."
In her assessment of the extent of the church's outreach, Cllr Michelle Simmons-Safo congratulated Tottenham Lighthouse Adventist church on their accomplishments: "The Word of God teaches us that we must be the salt of the earth, we have to go out, to reach out, and not be insular. So, this church is an example of the hope that is translating across England."
Leaders of Haringey Council, Cllr Peray Ahmet and Cllr Ibrahim Ali also expressed appreciation for the consistent and dedicated service exhibited by the church membership. In her speech, Cllr Ahmet declared: "It's a really humbling experience to be here today as Leader of the Council and thank you for inviting me. The vibe and family atmosphere here is truly fantastic, and all the good work you do here is remarkable."
Centre of Influence
Earlier, during the Sabbath service that day, BUC Director Sharon Platt-McDonald made a special presentation to the church. She thanked the members for their consistent and compassionate outreach to the community, acclaiming them for their outstanding and exemplary ministry.
She affirmed: "You have reflected the heart of God in demonstrable loving acts of service, meeting the needs of your community in these challenging times; your community outreach through your Food Hub which has met the needs of those not only during the pandemic but also during this current cost-of-living crisis.
"The reach and impact of your generosity and faithful humanitarian interventions have touched the heart of our nation and further afield internationally. We were elated to see Tottenham Lighthouse featured on ITV News on 8 January 2023, spotlighting your exceptional outreach to your community. And so, on behalf of the BUC, it gives me great pleasure to award you as a Centre of Influence. May you continue to be a beacon of excellence, hope and light to your community and beyond."
She presented a certificate of Excellence in Service to the church as a Centre of Influence to Head Elder Brother Roger Charles, who accepted the award on behalf of the church.
Acceptance of award
Speaking later in the week with Tottenham Lighthouse pastor Dr Jude Jeanville, he enthused:
"In addressing the abiding principles of life, the Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:13, 'The greatest of these is love….' Ellen G White exalts in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pg 189: 'If we were more kind, tender-hearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth, where there is now only one.'
"In line with the South England Conference's mission to 'Make disciples and build communities', I sought the Lord, who gave the vision and guaranteed its success, all to His honour and glory. With a heart moved by the love of God, through practical acts of kindness to others, we can be God's donkey to take Jesus around in our communities."
Commenting on being awarded a Centre of Influence, Pastor Jeanville further asserts: "I must express my heartfelt gratitude to my praying and hard-working members and leader. To God be the glory.
"It was powerful to see hundreds of people queuing outside the church (in the bitter cold) because they knew warm hearts within the church were ready to reach out to them. It was common to see long queues of people waiting to attend pubs and parties, and now it is heartening to see the Adventist church becoming a venue where people will queue for 3 hours to receive essential supplies. It has to be the hand of God."
Expressing his passion for ministry, Pastor Jeanville states that his conviction for ministry is embodied in this powerful quote:
"Ellen G White said, 'Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God…when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.'"
May God continue to bless the work of Tottenham Lighthouse, and may Divine favour attend each community individual within their sphere of influence.
Click here to watch MP David Lammy helping serve at the Tottenham Lighthouse Food Hub.
(Photo credits Joshua Amartey)