In a letter addressed to Prof Gus John and Clarence Thompson, Chair of the Queen Mother Moore School Management Committee, the group expressed their anger at people seeking to save the school for instigating a formal complaint against Reverend Steve Poole. Rev Poole was reported for his offensive and unprofessional conduct towards Reverend Hewie Andrew as a result of his “confrontational, hostile, patronising and deeply disrespectful” letters on the matter. The investigating officer, Reverend Jenny Impey who has met with Rev Andrew called for a meeting between both parties. To date the Methodist Ministry has chosen not to publicly admonish Rev Poole for the offensive manner in which he communicated with Rev Andrew. Instead Rev Poole who invoked the doctrine of reverse-racism by accusing Rev Andrew of “insinuating that he is a racist” has been fully supported.
Toyin Agbetu of Ligali said “It is difficult to discount racism as a motivating factor driving the outrageous treatment of the beloved Reverend Hewie Andrews and the failure of the Methodist Ministry to hold Rev Poole to account for his poor conduct. None of this furore occurred before Poole’s arrival, in fact before the arrival of Poole, the church had a reputation of healing racial disharmony in the area, not fuelling it. We can only hope that the investigation is conducted with honesty and moral integrity and recommends the school continues to be hosted on the church site to serve social and community needs not financial or egotistical ones”
In Prayer: Reverend Hewie Andrew (Top) Rev. Stephen Poole (Bottom)
Out of Order
On Sunday 4 October, the Clapham Methodist Church was attended by a number of Friends and supporters of QMMS including several past students and their parents. Rev Poole welcomed the visitors to the church and opened by stating that he did not wish to evict Queen Mother Moore School from the entire building. He only sought to revoke use of one of the rooms and issue the school with a new contract with revised terms on space allotment. The old contract had been breached Rev Poole explained. By this he meant financially. Although now settled, the charitable school had fallen behind in its payments to the church to the sum of a few hundred pounds.
The service continued with the QMSS Friends and supporters actively participating like everyone else guided by the ‘Order of Service’. As the Notices were being read, Annette Jeffers a Friend of QMSS moved closer to the podium in order to make a brief announcement to the congregation. Almost immediately she was attacked with undignified heckling from the congregation. Church goers, stewards and choir members left their seats to deny her the right to speak. This antagonistic behaviour continued despite a church steward announcing that the church will hear from Annette Jeffers who would deliver a statement on behalf of the Friends of QMMS. Several were shouting out comments such as ‘coming to disrupt our service’, ‘not liking Reverend Poole because he is a white man’, ‘bringing race into everything’, ‘wanting the school to occupy the whole church while not paying its way’. As a result a solitary police officer arrived after church representative had called them accusing QMSS supporters of disrupting the service and threatening to preach the peace. Ironically it was members of the church congregation that instigated and sustained the several disturbances that occurred during the service.
Professor Gus John said "The disturbance was caused by members of the church shouting, not by QMMS’ supporters. It was completely unnecessary to call the police and one cannot help feeling that whoever thought of it and acted upon the thought, with or without the encouragement of others, could well have been indulging stereotypical expectations of African people as far as dealing with disagreements let alone conflict is concerned. Had the 5 police cars come screeching to a halt outside the church, disgorging police who expected to find black people busting up one another, a totally different scenario could have unfolded."
External LinksMethodist Church - Social Responsibility CommissionWhat Would Jesus do?Campaign to Save Queen Mother Moore Supplementary SchoolMethodist Church District Chair London & Clapham Methodist Church Council: Rev Stephen Poole Must Go – Save Queen Mother Moore SchoolRemembering Queen Mother Moore
Inspiration: Queen Mother Moore
Save Queen Mother Moore Supplementary School
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It’s only business. Why shouldn’t the school be evicted if it doesn’t accept the Methodist church’s new commercial rate and conditions?
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