The recent murder of Sarah Everard has brought to the foreground the difficulties experienced by women in our cities and across our nation. It has raised up an outcry that is palpable and carries weight – a call against a status quo that has hung over our streets for far too long.

All violence, stalking, or harassment of any form is wrong. It should be called out for what it is, and not allowed to continue. So for us at Countess Free Church we join the cry from the heart to reclaim the streets. We recognise this is a cry not just for ‘safer streets’, but for a deeper look into our society. What are the deep-seated attitudes, the imperfections in the legal justice systems and the issues with law enforcement standards that have allowed the full spectrum of inappropriate behaviour without redress through to violent acts against women without suitable recourse to justice?

We start by examining ourselves and ask where we have allowed our own attitudes to accommodate rather than stand against that which is wrong? The call to reclaim the streets is a call for a safe and just society. For us it resonates with the Kingdom visions we read from social justice commentators from many many years ago, who saw the promise of …

‘… Men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there’.

Zechariah 8:4-5

‘… the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in (this place) no more’.

Isaiah 65:19