On Sunday 16 June, Stephen spoke at the Bonny Downs Community Gardens as part of a community action against knife crime, alongside US justice activist Shane Claiborne and Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz and Waheed Khan, Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police in Newham. The event involved beating guns and knives into garden tools and was part of the launch of the Red Letter Christians UK network.
Stephen spoke of the biblical picture of beating swords into ploughshares, and under the guidance of blacksmiths, joined the community in using knives seized by police to create garden tools and a sculpture for display in the gardens. A liturgy shared at the event concluded with the words, "We beat these knives from death to life”.
Stephen said: “I was delighted to be a part of this effort to stand up against rising knife violence in our community. Seeing weapons physically being transformed into garden tools was immensely powerful. I hope it will serve as an enduring reminder that love is stronger than hatred”.
At the event, Dr Sally Mann, minister at Bonny Downs Baptist Church and spokeswoman for Red Letter Christians UK, announced the launch of Newham's first and only knife surrender bin later in the summer. Knife violence in the UK was recorded at all-time highs in 2018, and Met police data showed Newham had the highest number of murders of any London borough last year.