A Community Cinema for Camberwell?

Hello there, and yet another post by another guest poster. Apologies for the very long post but just couldn’t get it any shorter.

As many of you will no doubt have heard by now the former cinema and bingo hall has been bought by Merinbrand (whoever they are) on behalf of (we assume) the Redeemed Christian Church of God or RCCG for short. We believe that contracts have been exchanged but completion is not due to take place until the beginning of March. The chances of us stopping the sale are slim, but I do not think that should prevent us from trying.

We started a campaign this Monday to try and get more information and transparency over the sale of the building by Gala Bingo. Last week I was told that the information was confidential and that I would have to wait until the sale had gone through. I think it is safe to assume that they were a little surprised at how quickly we managed to gather the troops, and very soon after our photo in front of the cinema today we had the head of PR sending out emails absolving themselves of all responsibility and hanging the new (potential) owners out to dry.

This is thanks to people like Victor, a.k.a. Eusebiovic, who set up a Facebook page which has nearly 200 fans already and is growing by the second. Also thanks go to Copeywolf (James), Liliana of PROS,Melanie Rimmer of Camberwell Arts and last but not least Mark Dodds and Barbara Pattinson from the SE5 forum for all their help. I have created a website (www.CamberwellCommunityCinema.webs.com) for the campaign to keep the cinema for the community and I have no idea where all you people are coming from but the response has been (almost) unanimous against having RCCG move in.

I think this is a real chance for Camberwell to come together as a community. And I don’t just mean those who use the internet. I mean all those who loved the bingo and now have to go to Surrey Quays (because that’s convienient). I mean all those for whom Christianity is not their religion. I mean all the artists looking for a space. I mean something to stop Time Out banging out yet another edition about the “great” East End. I mean all those who want Camberwell to have a focal point we can be proud of.

RCCG will have to change the commercial use from D2 (Cinema, music and concert halls) to D1 (Places of worship and Church Halls). This is where we as a community come in. We cannot let this happen. There are so many reasons why this should not be allowed. So, write to your MP, write to your councillors. Tell the press, tell Boris. Shout it out. Email your friends. Join the facebook page. Tell your friends to join the facebook page. Write to famous Camberwellians. Make people notice. MAKE A FUSS!

To be fair I think most councillors are firmly behind us and John Friary has been helping already to ask questions. There is a Camberwell Community Council meeting next Wednesday 3rd March at 7pm at Southwark Town Hall. Please go. We need to let Southwark Council know that Camberwell matters. We need them to stop palming us off with disjointed plans which come to nothing. On top of that, there is an election coming up. That should concentrate the mind wonderfully!

We will be getting some posters to put around Camberwell. I will put them on the website for you to download and print off. Stick them on windows of shops. Talk to your neighbours.


Camberwell deserves better.


a.k.a. Monkeycat.

206 thoughts on “A Community Cinema for Camberwell?”

  1. I think if you read his words in context he is parodying the people he disagrees with. You will note his post begins

    i don’t like the tone of this plan to oppose a religious organisation called RCCG. i learnt that they have been a part of the community for the past 21yrs.

    Other people reading these posts will be able to make their own minds up who has interpreted Robert correctly. Either way, It’s great if both those for the Church and for the mixed-use community venue are all able to reject ideas like this.

  2. Yes, let’s tread carefully and not say things we’ll regret later, remember and grimace at. I am reminded of that poem by Mervyn Morris:


    Teck time
    walk good

    Yu buck yu foot
    an memory ketch yu

    like a springe

    The story on the front page of the South London Press lays it all out clearly. It’s good people can have a say. It’s interesting to see where the money is these days — not with the elderly bingo players of Camberwell, that’s for sure.

  3. if Robert wants to start a racist war he should say it straight and i will give it to him if incase he dose not know he should go and make finding he is a white pig as for you James trying to defend what is wrong what does this words mean to you

    “This is becoming a religious war and you know this bloody blacks from Africa. they are nuiseance”

    calling black africans “nuisance”

    if you are called a nuisance what will be your reaction?

    think about it!!!!

  4. @Copeywolf what can you say about these words

    “This is becoming a religious war and you know this bloody blacks from Africa. they are nuiseance”

    in the true human spirit pls give me an honest reply.

  5. @ Phil G, yes sg = Aussie.

    An Aussie who has (hopefully) sold her house and is most likely leaving Camberwell in early July.

    But I will still visit this blog from sunny Queensland or wherever we choose to settle as it is a true sign of what’s *really* going on in Camberwell.

    I will be very sad to leave Camberwell, with all its quirkiness, colour and drama. Living life on the edge, that’s Camberwell to me.

    Dodging potholes, crumbling footpaths, drunks and nutters (religious and otherwise) — or abusing them, depending on my mood, being guarded when walking down darkened streets at night, sitting on broken chairs in local pubs.

    But you know, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Its quirky, urban and “real”. I work in a totally different area of London — where things are pristine, pavements smooth, pubs posh — and its bloody boring!!

  6. This is the last response I will make to Silkyfunz, as I don’t think it is a constructive debate. It is, however, important to me that I am not misunderstood. In what way can the following be construed as defending Robert’s words?

    James said:

    I have never heard this kind of language or suggestion on this forum, and if I did I would hope that it would quickly be deleted by those with responsibility for moderation.

    It’s great if both those for the Church and for the mixed-use community venue are all able to reject ideas like this.

  7. Slikyfunz — I suspect that what Copeywolf is implying is that, since Robert is using such language in his first posting then he is either a fake and a troll, or he is someone who does have those views, but who shouldn’t be listened to.

    Therefore Copeywolf from his comment is not supporting Robert’s nonsense. I don’t think many people here do.

    It’s nice to hear your views Slikyfunz. But do we have to spell everything out to you every time or are you just going to get offended anyway?

    A troll is someone who posts rubbish on the internet to create an argument.

    Sadly, it seems that Robert has had his desired effect on you. Or are you having a laugh too?

  8. SG you may be leaving this failed country but keep an eye on how this thing plays out.

    Swap ‘knackered bingo hall’ for ‘Gold Coast casino’. And swap ‘Nigerian church’ for ‘Indonesian mosque’ and history may repeat itself! Cheers! 🙂

  9. phil G i am havin a laugh.

    thanks a lot.

    i think we should just let the church be, Bingo hall has been closed for a long time business is booming for them so they decided to sell the building and the lucky buyers are the church. come to think of it who ready to pay an amount close to £7million for that place?

    the govt is not ready to use the place so let the church use it. at least they will help take off some holigans from the streets. @James it’s okay i got ur point just trying to tease you a little bro. lol

  10. I have been trying to bite my tongue (not easy for me) but Robert, whoever you are, could you please refrain from making silly comments like that?

    If you were making a joke, it was in very poor taste and not well thought out. If you were serious, I have no interest in speaking to you.

    To everyone on this forum. Cheap shots will not help foster communities.
    As I have said before, I am not interested in the RCCG using the building on thier own but I am interested in getting the building used by everyone in the community and not simply one section of it.

  11. @slikyfunz — thanks for your witty contribution.

    The bingo hall has been closed for all of four and a half days, which is not my idea of a long time.

    Where did you hear the figure of £7 million by the way? That would be very useful to know.

  12. @ Phil, oh but England’s not a failed country, just one going through a tricky patch at the moment 🙂

    Yes, I’m going where they have cinemas aplenty, bingo halls few

    Churches here and there, but as for Tigers.…

    oh, someone say Tiger, how was it then last night?? Worth popping in tonight to check it out, do we think??

  13. sorry cant tell you were i got the figure from.

    for your information another bingo hall is closing down.

    find out about that before we loose it to redeem church again cuase they are good in aquiring properties.

  14. Monkeycat which one are you in the pic?

    To the dude in the tinted glasses on the pic. I recognise you man, I’m sure I’ve seen you somewhere. Next time I’ll say hi.

  15. I was behind the camera. Typical photographer!

    The dude in the tinted glasses is a neighbour of mine. Makes the best ice cream this side of Italy! I say that as I babysit his kid and eat his ice cream!

  16. Well done to those responsible for getting this on the front page of the SLP. It’s a crying shame that for many of the bingo regulars it was their only social outing of the week.

    In respect of the bingo hall — formerly a cinema — being purchased by a church I am reminded of my grandparents who moved to Herne Hill in the 1930’s. They came from another country, speaking another language (though they could speak English) and were both religious. But there was no question of getting together with others to buy or rent somewhere to worship locally; they found their place of worship in central London.

  17. I am from Spanish/Portuguese background…have lived in Southwark and Lambeth for over 30 years…

    I think I’m entitled to have an opinion…Because I’ve seen more mistakes than I have the time to list here regarding poor town planning and long term vision…

    I am a little uncomfortable with some of the posts on this board…I don’t like censorship but isn’t there a moderator to remove some of the more inflamatory posts?



  18. Mumu
    You are right the buses are thanks lots of poeple complaining to Val Shawcross and our local councillors Jim Dickson and Kirsty McHugh (Labour Herne Hill ward that covers LBJ). What they have done is to listen and do something about it which is great for us up this end of Camberwell.

    So a big thanks to those that got it sorted out

    And yes I have used the bus it is free as it should be. Although I do feel like I am in “one flew over the cuckoo nest” sat on the white bus on the way to the asylum.

    I wonder if RCCG are willing to open there arms to all of us in same sex relationships. Or are they an exclusive heterosexual church?

  19. @ Gnomee — I’m afraid the RCCG are not very gay friendly:
    New York Times profile of RCCG
    Interview on Evangelicals Now
    This is useful to know for any debates about the inclusiveness of a church as opposed to a secular community organisation.

    Community health workers and NHS staff (of whom there are many in the area) may not agree with the RCCG’s views on divine healing:

    II.8.Sickness is a direct consequence of the fall of man and his continuance in sin. Redemption not only dealt with sin but also its consequences, which includes sickness and diseases. Christ died on the cross; bore not only our sins, but also our sicknesses. Healing for our bodies from God comes to us through appropriation of the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary by faith in the word of God and manifestation of the gift of healing. Not only believers receive healing for our bodies, but also we may minister healing and deliverance to others in the name of Jesus. This can be accomplished by laying on of hands, praying for others in absentia and by getting bible believing church elders to anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

    But it’s not all bad news. Their views on marriage are quite forward thinking:

    V.2.C. The wife should respect her husband, and show him proper honor by being submissive.

  20. @Gnome — I wrote a reply to your question about the RCCG and same sex relationships, but there were a few weblinks in it, so it’s awaiting moderation. The short answer is no, they consider homosexuality a sin. It’s a very important point. How can any organisation claim to be open to the community and serving the community if it stigmatises a significant part of that community?

  21. @eusebiovic (and everyone else) — My policy is never to remove comments, no matter how distasteful or inflammatory they may be; this is because I don’t think it’s my place to be an arbiter of people’s opinions.

    I would make an exception for anything that’s libellous, unprovable, or discloses personal information about a third party; but never because someone has an opinion that I don’t like.

    I’ve been accused of censoring comments in the past, but I never have. Anytime a comment seems to disappear it’s very probably a software matter.


  22. Peter

    That’s absolutely fine — I agree…

    I was merely worried that it might all lead to something libellous…or even more unpleasant which we don’t want to see! 😉

  23. Oh, everyone knows that the church preaches against homosexuality but that the pastor keeps a boy. Many of the ladies are very impressed by him, too, in his bow tie and metallic suit, it’s all normal, it’s just ignored and understood or whatever, people are human after all.

  24. Burgess Park
    Camberwell Leisure Centre
    Camberwell Cinema Hub

    Will be the “Holy Trinity” that will ensure Camberwell’s progressive future for a good few years…

    And the Overground also arriving in 2 years time…As Hannibal Smith from the A Team w…ould have said

    “I love it when a plan comes together!”

    I believe in this great village — lets make it work…

  25. I’m in Tadim’s Cafe…

    “Love All & Serve All” is the tag line on their blackboard menu. Seems like everyone’s welcome.

    My favourite cafe in Camberwell.

  26. @ Gay Camberwell

    That’s an excellent review of the situation. You should consider sending it as a ‘press release’ to the the South London Press and Southwark News.

    To quote with that interview with RCCG on Evangelicals Now,

    The Word of God is very clear on the issue of sin, men lying with men, women lying with women, killing, murder in any form, whether the fellow you are killing is already born or still in the womb. The Word of God is clear, and we stand by that clearly written Word of God, period.

    The placing of homosexuality side-by-side with murder is chilling even if it is becoming an unfortunate cliché of some Evangelicals.

  27. what is your gripe guys? is it against the bible or the use of the bingo hall for the community at large?. looks like we are mixing things up here.

  28. @Gay Camberwell

    I agree with James J this is a well considered blog. I live in Lambeth so my local councillors are not able to affect Southwark decisions. You should send it to the Southwark ones considering it is election year they may support the campaign.

  29. @GayCamberwell

    Thanks for sharing that — it’s a well thought out and positive piece. Echo the comments above, adding that it would be good to send your piece not only to existing councillors but also to those standing for election.

  30. Camberwell has no civic heart or focus and it is desperately needed. This building uniquely offers a chance to fill a huge gap that has been gnawing away at the fabric of the community for far too long.

    The sale of this huge site and potentially iconic landmark building went through completely behind closed doors and there was no chance for all the people who live and work in Camberwell to know or do anything about it.

    There have been debates and discussions about this sort of building being desperately needed for use by the whole community for decades and the fact that no such building has ever been available has been a serious brake on local development and regeneration of the whole of the SE5 area.

    Camberwell has an unusual concentration of people from the creative industries at all levels, from people studying to practitioners to senior administrators and leaders in all fields imaginable. There is a potentially huge audience locally for a multi use civic centre which could reflect the richness and complexities of Camberwell’s particularly exciting and extraordinary range of ethnic, racial, social and gender backgrounds.

    There is NOWHERE remotely of this kind here although some bars do try to offer such range they are too small to accommodate the range and scale of activities that could be run from a large venue like the bingo hall — a place designed for mass entertainment.

    Many churches do much good work with communities all over the world there is no doubt. But it can be argued that Camberwell already has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the evangelical church movement — and yet another church can surely only be duplicating the work that many existing congregations are doing in the area. I know my door gets knocked on often enough and leaflets imploring me to hear the word of the Lord drop onto the door mat every week. Besides, any church, by nature, is exclusive to its congregation and the limited range of people who are attracted to its particular take on whatever particular branch of which ever faith it’s promoting.

    An intelligently designed, operated and well managed multi use secular centre for the celebration of all the cultures, arts and heritage of the many peoples who live alongside each other in this area would touch and improve far more people’s lives than any church ever could.

  31. It is sad to know that a tiny fraction of camberwell tends to show their love for the bingo hall now that it’s already sold and deal sealed. When you guys make mention of putting your case before your politicians, what do you then expect? Don’t you know that you all(voters) are prostitutes to the politicians? The politicians in office and the ones standing in election already know how to manage you guys because you, even you, don’t help the situation nor offer solutions to their ever growing problems of maintaining law, order and economy. If we scrutinise you all,

    1, some of you have faultered in paying your council tax, rent and the council has to chase you up.

    2, majority are lazy therefore depend on the council for benefits and giro. You may call it ‘entitlement’ but in the real sense, you are liabilities because most hardworking citizens do without it ok.

    3, If the defenders of the bingo hall are asked in what ways they have contributed to the growth & sustenance of this facility, i bet if they will be able to raise their heads and provide an answer.

    4, Everyone of you don’t really care about the bingo hall talkless of the community, probably the reason you were considered irrelevant in the process of sale of the property.

    5, There were bidders in the run up to sale, so the highest bidder came out shinning…Glory be to Almighty God.

    Forget about this because it’s a done deal. You only need to look elsewhere before another bingo hall is off the street.

    For your information, have you all heard about the sale of Gatwick Airport? It was bought by a NIGERIAN !

    Thanx 4 ur time.

  32. Several things ‘Jesus Reigns’.

    1) Many people will find your insensitive thoughtless comments deeply offensive although perhaps, just perhaps, you do not mean them to be.
    2) You show how little you know of Camberwell and the many thousands of marvellous people, of dozens of different types of background, to whom Camberwell is their beloved home.
    3) If, as it appears, your comments are representative of the type of person who constitute the congregation of this wealthy evangelical church which ostensibly promotes ‘Christian values’ it seems clear that your values are limited, mean spirited, insular and that you relish your exclusiveness and superiority over other people.
    4) As you are confident enough in your arrogance to take Jesus’ name in vain for your own postings doubtless you will understand clearly just how your gloating words actions will be treated come your Judgement Day.
    5) If your display is in any way representative of the type of ‘evangelism’ promoted by your church’s Big Daddy Pastor it only reinforces my satisfaction of having relinquished my church’s interpretation of the way life should be led at the age of ten and instead embarked on a life guided by a humanitarian compassion, careful consideration of others, humility and a deep sense of civic duty toward the majority. It used to be called having ‘Christian Values’ but people with views like yours tarnish the majority’s vision of faith and churches of all description and leaning.

    A secular approach to life is far less damning of and damaging to others than yours as evidenced by your missives here

  33. HA. ‘God came out shinning’ Not with you he didn’t mate, he got a brass farthing.

    People who actually care about Camberwell are meeting tonight at 7pm to talk about the bingo hall. If you are local and understand the area and the needs and wants of the people who live love and work here, why not come and meet us? And tell us why we should welcome you with open arms into our community.

  34. I just tried emailing Pastor Adeboye this message:

    ‘Dear RCCG and Pastor Adeboye,

    You will be interested to know that ‘Jesus Reigns’ is posting inappropriate un-Christian comments on Camberwell’s local blog. I hope this person’s stance and evident human values are not representative of your general congregation’s position.

    This link is to one comment from this sadly misguided person: https://www.camberwellonline.co.uk/2010/02/a‑community-cinema-for-camberwell/#comment-126869

    I was brought up on a Methodist missionary compound in Shagamu and this saddens me greatly.

    With best wishes

    J Mark Dodds’

    The anti spam human interface filter thingummyjig on the pastor’s website does not appear to let me send a message. Maybe he doesn’t want to know; being one of the fifty most powerful people on planet earth he probably doesn’t have time to deal with email.

  35. @ Mark Dodds, what would you prefer the buidling is used for? I will suggest you take a look at the mission, vision snd intention of the church of God and you will see that in summary, all it preaches and still preaching is love.I am sure these evangelical church would welcome you anytime you want to visit, am sure they will also welcome and take on board any good ideas that will be positively beneficial to all and they are open to suggestions, just because it is a church does not mean it will only cater for pples sipiritual needs, it does cater for pples physical needs to. Why not get to know them, chatt and have an insight of what they are about, rather than stay outside and assume. Go in and see things for yourself and am certain you will come out satisfied. God bless you.

  36. liar liar! how can you be brought up in a missionary compound and with no bearing to your upbringing? i don’t believe you.
    forget the church getting this place. please allow the Osama Bin Ladens to take the place. from the way you have been going it seems you have a beef on RCCG. my info says House of Praise got the place in the first place and you are using your silly mouth to run Pastor Adeboye. if you have no respect and honour for your elders we do. the problem with you is that you think you are a voice but you are a failure. we are checking you out

  37. Deutsche Bank has a legal charge over the freehold title of the bingo hall. just checked land registry. we can still stop this church. let us write to this bank and boycot their business. anyone for this idea?

  38. At the risk of feeding Trolls i hope everyone on this board understands that this campaign is not anti churcg or anti one group of people in Camberwell it’s about argueing a large and historic building (please remember whoever uses this Camberwell bingo hall is a listed building and deserves to be treated properly and respectfully whatever use it is put to)in this area ahould be put to use as soemthign that beenfits the whole community not fracturing it further.

    I appreciate and respect people right to belive and worship but i do not think that gives you a right to impose you views on other people. There are amny evangelical churchs in Camberwell already including one a few minutes walk away from gala bingo on Camberwell Station Road. Camberwell doesn’t need more churhces it needs community facilities for everyone regardless of their background, religion or beliefs — that is what we are campaigning for.

    Fianlly whilst i apprecaite evangelical Christians beleifs please remember not everyone beleives what you beleives and i as an atheist i am becomming increasingly unhappy in Camberwell with beign harrassed in the street, in shops, on buses and my own home by peopel intent on savign my soul — i appreciate you right to believe but do not assume i want to know about it.

    On a nice note i would urge everyoen to get down to the mediatheque at the BFI in Waterloo where they are running a free season of South London fils — i saw a wonderful 50’s one yesterday all about Camberwell Metropolitan Borough council — a timly and relvant reminder that the community and it’s services should be for everyone.

  39. Yes don’t forget the fruit:

    “just because it is a church does not mean it will only cater for [a]pples[‘] sipiritual needs, it does cater for [a]pples[‘] physical needs to[o]”

    Did I misunderstand? I’m not very good with internet slang…

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