The future of this building, if it were to come into community use, represents hope to thousands of people who have nowhere to congregrate in large numbers, nowhere to express themselves secularly, nowhere to express, share and experience their different cultures, backgrounds and values to each other, this place could help community cohesion and development in a unique and wonderful way. As a church it will never do this.
Come on please! The community has not 'risen up in arms' yet in some wave of biblical drama. This is a simple issue of what is fair for people generally. The cinema building is built for public entertainment and ideally should be used for public entertainment.
If the many thousands of people who make up the Camberwell community had known about the building coming up for sale six months ago we'd have been working like crazy to get together the money to buy it for ourselves - and that 'for ourselves' includes the many Nigerian and dozens of other peoples who make up Camberwell's extraordinarily rich diverse community.
This community has been sorely neglected for decades. There has not been any significant sized building in use for the whole community since the 1960's. The community has lobbied both Southwark and Lambeth local authorities to help us find such a building that could be put to widespread community use - a site that could be used to celebrate the wealth of human capital there is in this marvellous but dreadfully downtrodden and neglected part of London.
The fact that Nigerians have bought the site has nothing to do with local people's concerns over its future. The fact that it is a church is partly an issue but the essential problem people have about this turn of events is that it's a building which could be used for the benefit of the whole community - and it likely would be had we known about the sale well enough in advance - but it is being removed from that potential and taken into private hands without anyone who's involved in the broader community here being asked anything about it.
If you are part of our local community it would be interesting to talk more about this.