One night long ago in my Christian days I was walking home through the streets of North West London from Midnight Mass. As I was passing by St Saviour’s Church in Little Venice (a Church of England parish in a very posh area of London) I was set upon by two intoxicated ruffians who pined me against the church wall and demanded money. I had none but they didn’t believe me. So they bashed my head against the wall till I coughed some up. Which of course I didn’t. One of the assailants realised the futility of the situation and called the other one off and they walked away leaving me bleeding profusely from my head. I stumbled across the road to the Vicarage desperate for help. Father Gary Bradley opened the door and took me in. I staggered into the grand hallway with its beautiful white carpet. Which I proceeded to splatter with red blood. Father Gary called an ambulance and I just needed a few stitches for a flesh wound. But I felt so guilty about that carpet! But at no point did he show any concern about it and was the perfect Good Samaritan.
So why do I write about this today?
Fr Gary is still the Vicar of St Saviour’s Church. And though just a little older he still touches the lives of parishioners. A few months ago he told me very cryptically to watch out for him in the media before Christmas. He refused to tell me any more. Today’s Guardian reveals the secret:
Amazon is launching a TV ad in which an imam and a vicar exchange gifts, before the Black Friday shopping bonanza during which consumers will spend billions with the internet retailer.
The company, which is launching the campaign in the US, UK and Germany, said it was aware of the sensitivities of portraying an inter-faith friendship between religious community leaders.
Amazon used a real vicar Fr Gary and a real imam, the principal of the Muslim School Oadby in Leicester. The advert is simply marvellous. With so much hate being generated by the election of a neo-fascist to the White House, this is an oasis of authentic sanity. Enjoy.