This coming week is my last at the West London Mission (WLM) after 8½ years leading their work with people affected by homelessness, poverty and trauma. It has been a deeply rewarding job. I have worked alongside many brilliant people and WLM has travelled a long way. In term of this blog, it has been… Continue reading Faith in addressing homelessness: reflections on leaving WLM
We sing a song at my church with the words ‘Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a saviour’. Most people today acknowledge the importance of kindness. Even atheists often respect the church for running food banks and night shelters. Being kind is generally appreciated. But the idea of needing a saviour is more controversial. Many… Continue reading Does everyone need a saviour?
I will never forget talking with an old school friend in the pub after he got back from the first Gulf War in 1991. He had left school at 16 and joined the army just as I went into the Sixth Form. In the Gulf he served as an officer in a tank regiment. At… Continue reading ‘They Shall Not Grow Old’ – a film by Peter Jackson [review]
'Management' is not a concept that sits well within the Church. After all, church leaders are called to be priests, pastors, and preachers, not CEOs of mini-corporations. But over the past 20 years, in attending, working for and with many churches and Christian organisations, I have consistently seen the bitter cost of poor staff management.… Continue reading Grace, truth and the tricky task of people management
The pastor and writer, Eugene Peterson, died this week. Tributes have poured in about the impact that this wise and humble man had on millions of people. Bono dedicated a song to him at U2's gig in London describing him as 'a beautiful spirit who opened up the Scriptures.' Peterson is most well-known for writing The Message version… Continue reading Eugene Peterson’s Subversive Spirituality
There are now over 100 night shelter schemes in the country where groups of churches work together to provide accommodation - last year these schemes helped an estimated 6000 homeless people. Alongside this there are the many soup kitchens, drop in centres and huge amount of informal one-to-one support that many church communities provide. But… Continue reading Bridging the gap between churches and professionals: the complexity of compassion #3
One of the most important truths I have learnt from the last 25 years of working with people is this: we cannot change other people unless they want to change. Its important that we remember this truth because helping people with complex problems is in itself complex. Accepting this reality helps us avoid the twin… Continue reading Carrying burdens, maintaining boundaries: the complexity of compassion #2