Reverend Stephen Poole, a Methodist minister has locked a supplementary school out of its main classroom and has threatened to throw the students course work into a bin. In what seems to be a dispute about revenue generation and profit-making for the church Poole has been accused of failing to honour a long standing arrangement to host the school in a manner which adequately serves children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Poole, the new minister at Clapham High Street Methodist Church was installed in the church during September 2015 and has since threatened the famous Queen Mother Moore Supplementary School with closure. Poole took over from the Rt. Rev. Norman A. Grigg who retired after warmly referring to Revd Hewie Andrew as “a Supernumerary Minister who still runs the Queen Mother Moore School, which has been holding Saturday sessions at Clapham for over thirty years now”. Commenting on the matter the Reverend Hewie Andrew Support Committee and the Friends of the Queen Mother Moore Supplementary School (FQMMSS) wrote:
“Without consultation with the school’s management committee and without even a conversation with its founder, the Reverend Hewie Andrew, himself a senior Methodist minister, Rev Poole has decided to lock the school out of its main classroom, impounding its teaching resources, children’s work and classroom furniture and to charge Reverend Andrew for the use of the school office, an office he and teachers at the school have used since it was opened. On 10 September 2015, before he had even got his feet under the desk, Reverend Poole sent a letter to Reverend Andrew giving him 2 weeks’ notice to clear out of the school classroom and remove all the school’s belongings because he was revoking the contract the school had recently signed with the church as he wished to use that classroom as a church office. On 22 September, he sent another letter stating: ‘We hope that all of the books and equipment that belong to the school will be removed from the room before or on the 25th, anything left will be removed and thrown out’
The Queen Mother Moore Supplementary School (QMMS) was established by Reverend Andrew in 1981 when he himself was the minister at Clapham High Street Methodist Church building for some 9 years. Reverend Andrew qualified as a teacher in 1971 and used the school to forward the church’s mission to the local community.
FQMMSS continue explaining how Reverend Andrew and the school has been “standing up with parents in support of quality education for all children as a fundamental entitlement and making sure that the mainstream schooling system was not disadvantaging them, especially black children who were massively underachieving, being excluded from school, or sent disproportionately to schools for the educationally subnormal.
The school has operated in that church since 1981 and has extended the life chances and shaped the careers of many thousands of young people. More recently, the school has been running a Computer Coding Club for children aged 8 to 14 as an extension of its Maths teaching programme.”
Reverend Hewie Andrew
Internationally reknown supplementary school
Over the past 40 years Reverend Hewie Andrew has served as a minister, his work at the QMMS has led to him being responsible for developing the international reputation of both the school and the Clapham Methodist Church and attracting support from influential overseas visitors such as Queen Mother Moore (who opened the school), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Maya Angelou, Professor Cornell West, Professor James Cone, Reverend Jesse Jackson and the Rt Honourable Michael Manley (as Prime Minister of Jamaica).
The Church which receives donations from parents and until recently a grant from Lambeth Council until it was cut as a result of the Government’s austerity measures serves a predominantly African congregation whilst the school caters for their children. Several have expressed outrage at the behaviour of the new minister stating “Reverend Stephen Poole Must Go”.
It is tragic that a post on the Churches Facebook page reading "Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love" exalt the very qualities being denied Revd Hewie Andrew and the Queen Mother Moore Supplementary School.
Toyin Agbetu from Ligali has contacted the Church writing;
“Dear Rvd Stephen J Poole, I and many others are concerned that in seeking to monetise the Queen Mother Moore Supplementary School hosted at the Clapham Methodist Church you have decided to embark on a course of action motivated by profit and not need. Please reverse your decision which will ultimately result in the eviction of a community resource that has been serving the local community for several decades.”
Toyin asks that community members contact their newspapers and activists consider the use of direct action if the church minister refuses to communicate, negotiate and reparate on this matter.
External LinksClapham Methodist ChurchFacebook: Clapham Methodist ChurchMystery Review: Reverend Stephen Poole
Revd Stephen J. Poole starting at Clapham Methodist Church, Sep 2015
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Is Reverend Stephen Poole right to place profit before need and evict the Queen Mother Moore Supplementary School
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