Thought for the Day by Anna Bland (All Hallows’)
The event that showed me ‘God with us in Hyde Park’ was back in 2014. At this time I was a student in Hyde Park living with five friends. In June of that year there was a week long, student led, community project called June Project. To finish a fantastic week of house cleaning, graffiti removal, tidying community areas across Hyde Park we hosted a street party.
We dropped invites to many houses on the neighbouring streets, we catered big and kept fingers crossed for good weather. We closed the road, strung bunting up and chalked hopscotch where cars had previously been parked. As the morning wore on the street slowly filled with people from all walks of life. We cooked food and served drinks to so many people, our neighbours that we had never met before.
Hyde Park is a diverse place with people from many backgrounds. On a student timetable we often wouldn’t see our neighbours who were up much earlier for school and work. To see young and old talking and laughing together on our street was joyful and such a surprise when many of us spent all our time with our student peer group. We were unaware of the lives lived alongside our own.
It is well known that relations between students and longer term residents are not always positive in Hyde Park; so this street party symbolised something bigger than the individuals involved. Within that week, and especially on the day of the street party, I saw the spirit of God moving within the connections built and barriers broken down. That day we started to see the spark of God and the fullness of humanity in the other.