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Bishop of Kensington calls for national repentance ahead of second Grenfell Tower anniversary

Rt Revd Dr Graham Tomlin's comments come ahead of a new report, 'The social legacy of Grenfell: An agenda for change', that will be published to mark the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire next week.

Bishop Graham said: "Grenfell is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to look at what might be wrong with our social fabric and try to fix it."

The report has been created from a series of conversations by the Bishop of Kensington with local London residents, community groups, faith leaders and activists.

The report describes Grenfell as being a critical moment in both local and national life.

It states: "It shone a spotlight on a series of issues that we were dimly aware of, and yet often ignored."

The report seeks to identify an agenda for change within society, which will be a legacy to those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower.

Issues it focuses on include, welfare, becoming neighbours, providing homes and noticing faiths.

The report explains: "To extend the scope of the Inquiry to broader social issues would risk making what is already a long and complex task even longer and more complex.

"Yet if all that we do is to think about fire safety and building regulations, we will have missed a vital opportunity.

"In an episode in the gospels, Jesus was once asked a question about a tower that had collapsed in the city of Jerusalem, leading to the deaths of a large number of people. He was asked if this meant that this was some kind of judgment on those who had died.

"He answered 'No: those who died were no better or worse than anyone else', but he then added one sharp warning, 'but unless you change, you also will perish'.

"In other words, when such an event happens, it can serve as a call for a kind of national repentance, a close look at the way we live together, the kind of self-examination that can lead to significant change for the better."

The Bishop of Kensington has been heavily involved in the response to Grenfell, from the day of the fire and the subsequent days and weeks after.

He added: "One thing I have come to admire is the strength and determination of the local community of North Kensington and its cohesiveness, even in the most trying of circumstances.

"This report comes not with the authority of any particular local group, and I have deliberately kept anonymous the different voices quoted - it is simply my account of what I heard and my reflections on it. My hope is that it identifies a programme and agenda for change within our society which will be a lasting and fitting legacy to those who tragically lost their lives at Grenfell Tower on the night of June 14, 2017."

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