The Changing Face of Brentford, West London
“Brentford is Brilliant.” So the local government signs declare at the roadside. Other signs promise regeneration of the riverside and town centre. Some of this has already started. From 2001–2011 the number of dwellings increased by 27%. Since then, 1000 new properties have been completed and young professionals are increasingly moving into Brentford. In the next five to ten years, it will change even more. The football (soccer) club, which has been the heart of the community for 126 years, will move to a new stadium on the edge of Brentford. Along the River Thames, new luxury apartments continue to be built, with views over the river to the famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. In one new complex, 30% of the buyers are from the Middle East, and 10% from China.
As you walk the streets of Brentford, you can hear the changes that are taking place, too, in the variety of languages people speak. In the elementary school my children attend on the border of Brentford, 56 different languages are spoken. Only 65% of new pupils speak English as a first language. The Polish delicatessen, African Supermarket, Pakistani shops, and various restaurants testify to the ethnic diversity of this community.
Brentford’s diversity is also seen in its buildings. The new apartment complexes stand in the shadow of 26 storey social housing blocks built in the 1970’s.
As you walk through the town, changes in beliefs are also apparent. In the centre, an old Anglican church lies derelict. Further west, a Baptist Church was turned into apartments some years ago. Just along the road, another derelict old church is a building site, as developers transform it into luxury apartments. Secularism is the main religion of the residents in the new apartments. Meanwhile, the women in Islamic dress walking down the street show that the Muslim population is increasing.
The Vision of Immanuel Church Brentford
What this changing, diverse community really needs for true regeneration is, of course, the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is consensus amongst the Reformed churches in the communities surrounding Brentford that there is a wonderful opportunity for a gospel-proclaiming church to be planted in Brentford. The International Presbyterian Church of Ealing believes that God has blessed them with the ability to send Stuart Cashman and a small seed group to plant Immanuel Church Brentford. Our vision is for the life-transforming good news to be proclaimed and lived out in the midst of the diverse Brentford community. The name Immanuel expresses our prayer: that people will truly know “God-with-us.” We long to establish a Christ-centred, gospel-preaching church community in Brentford that will display God’s glory by bringing together people from every part of the community to worship Jesus Christ as Lord.
Our Prayer for Immanuel Church Brentford
Our prayer is for people in Brentford from very different social, religious, and ethnic backgrounds all to come together in Immanuel Church. Only the Sovereign Triune God can make this vision a reality. Our “Seed Group” of 13 people started meeting this month in order to prepare to launch Immanuel Church in 2016. To effectively reach this diverse community we also need more people with experience of working with different cultures and social backgrounds to join us. The needs and opportunities in Brentford are replicated across West London. So we pray the Lord will make us a church that can train up new leaders and plant other churches.
Therefore, we are looking for churches and individuals to partner with us in prayer and financial support. Our main costs will be paying the church planter’s salary, renting places for worship and outreach events, and funding an outreach and training position so we can fulfill our vision of reaching all this diverse community and planting more churches in the future.
We would be delighted if you could partner with us in prayer and financial support as we seek to serve our Lord.
Stuart Cashman served with Dr. Goligher for nearly nine years as Associate Minister at Duke Street Church, Richmond. He is married to Meriel, and they have two children, Zoë (6) and Joel (4). He holds an MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary. Immanuel Church Brentford is a church plant of International Presbyterian Church Ealing, which will fund the church planter’s salary until 2017.
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