For the first few seconds there was absolute silence. Then an entire Notting Hill street exploded with cheers and wolf whistles. As it turns out, the excitement wasn’t directed at a passing star or, more likely these days, a frontline medical worker, but rather a local vicar.
When Britain entered lockdown in March, Old Etonian Pat Allerton, 41, figured, “We can’t get out, so maybe the Church should go to the people. We had some speakers in our church and the cables for a microphone—along with a long extension cord to plug it all in.” In a moment of extraordinary challenge, Allerton sought to deliver a simple message, which he took to the streets of London in five-minute sessions. After playing “Amazing Grace” on his homemade sound system, he invited residents to join him in socially distanced prayer. “I’ve had hundreds of messages,” explains Allerton. “I’ve heard from people of the Jewish faith, from Muslims. I’ve heard from atheists and agnostics.”