31 August, 2015 – eighteen years since the death of Princess Diana in 1997. When she died flowers were laid in London and across the nation. To commemorate the anniversary of her tragic death, and to honour the amazing work she did in caring for, and raising awareness of, suffering children and young people around the world, 1588 red and yellow roses were given out across London.

The roses were given out by young people wearing red hoodies, representatives of a new generation – ‘saints in the city’ – who are coming onto the streets of London to do good. The ‘hoodie’ is often associated with young people doing bad things but these ‘saints’ are transforming the hoodie into a symbol of love and kindness. Eighteen years on from Diana’s death, a new generation has been born and is coming of age this year: a generation bringing new hope to London

Attached to each rose was a label with a message – Do you know that you are completely and absolutely loved? – and a challenge – How will you pass the love on?

Rose recipients were directed to www.saintsinthecity.org.uk to find out Who it is that completely and absolutely loves them:

‘We can only give away what we have first received. As you have received this red rose today, please receive our love which comes from God who is a loving Father. He is not distant, disapproving or uninterested in you. He is kind, considerate and takes interest in who you are.

The website also outlined twelve practical ways for passing that love onto others:

  1. Text a photo of the red rose to a friend with a message of love from you.
  2. Make the first move in restoring a broken family relationship.
  3. Reach out in friendship to someone from a different culture to you.
  4. Make a cake and take it to your neighbours.
  5. Buy a takeaway for a homeless person.
  6. Buy a copy of the Big Issue from a homeless person.
  7. Give up your seat to an elderly person in the bus.
  8. Let someone go in front of you in the queue at the supermarket.
  9. Send a card to someone in need of encouragement.
  10. Tell your child that you love them.
  11. Apologise to someone you have offended.
  12. Forgive someone who has offended you.

To find out more about the work of Urban Saints, and how you, and your church, can get involved in helping young people live lives of faith, hope and love through Jesus Christ, visit www.urbansaints.org.
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