Pastor Agu Irukwu of Jesus House in northwest London meets the needs of his community in practical ways, most recently with a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site on Good Friday, as he knows access to such resources are often limited for members of Black, Asian and other minority groups.
Unfortunately, Irukwu and his congregation were subjected to a “torrent of hate-filled, abusive and bullysome” messages following the visit of the leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, who tweeted his regret on visiting the church upon learning of its biblically-based stance on marriage and sexuality.
The Evangelical Alliance spoke with Irukwu to unpack what happened leading up to and following Starmer’s visit—and what the backlash has meant for the faith community.
“It was a positive meeting,” Irukwu said of the visit with Starmer, who made Jesus House a stop on his “Let’s Vaccinate Britain” campaign at the Labour Party’s request. During his visit, Starmer met with the workers and “spoke with young Black members of the church, listening to their views on the vaccine and its impact on our community.”
Irukwu says Starmer commended the church’s “work in responding to the needs of some of the more deprived areas of the community.”
A member of the Labour Party recorded the pleasant exchange, posting it on social media for updates on the campaign. Members of the LGBTQ community within the Labour Party immediately condemned the visit, to which Starmer removed the video from his social media account. He also issued a public apology for visiting Jesus House:
“I completely disagree with Jesus House’s beliefs on LGBT+’s rights, which I was not aware of before my visit. I apologize for the hurt my visit caused and have taken down the video. It was a mistake and I accept that.”
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SOURCE: Charisma News