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Methodist president tours deprived East End and affluent Canary Wharf

PUBLISHED: 09:56 21 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:56 21 May 2014

The Rev Ruth Gee, Methodist Church president

The Rev Ruth Gee, Methodist Church president

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The leader of Britain’s 250,000 Methodist Christians has paid a surprise whistle-stop tour of London’s deprived East End.

The Rev Ruth Gee, 58, President of the Methodist Conference, visited congregations and community groups as part of her five-day visit to London.

Her tour began at London Citizens in Whitechapel, finding out how the grassroots organisation is using the local council elections to put pressure on candidates to tackle the housing crisis, then the nearby Whitechapel Mission which cares for the East End’s homeless.

The mother-of-two from Darlington, in the North East, whose year as President ends in July, went on a walkabout tour of Brick Lane to see the former Methodist Church, now a mosque, where the movement’s founder John Wesley preached his first Covenant Service in the 18th century. The church was later converted to the Great Spitalfields Synagogue before becoming today’s Jamme Masjid Muslim centre.

Mrs Gee visited Bethnal Green Methodist church to meet volunteers who run the Tower Hamlets Zacchaeus project which fills gaps in local social services, then Canary Wharf to hear of plans for the future of the area and its support for the Island Neighbourhood Project on the Isle of Dogs which has received grants from the business community.

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