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
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
When I was in my twenties, I lived in Kings Cross and went to a local church. There, I got to know a man who was a former crack addict - we'll call him Ian. He was doing his best to put his life back together and get into work as a painter and decorator.… Continue reading The need for grace and truth: the complexity of compassion #1
Every Tuesday at WLM's centre for homeless people at Seymour Place in central London, we have a Spirituality Discussion Group for our homeless clients. Even though membership of the group changes frequently, the group decides themselves the topics it wants to discuss. Its one the highlights of my job when I am invited to lead… Continue reading What are the best ways of helping people?
Christian distinctiveness in helping people who are homeless Many churches acknowledge the importance of helping people who are homeless. Nationwide there are over 100 Night Shelter networks and churches make up the vast majority of the venues. Also many of the larger, established homeless agencies have Christian roots. But, confidently integrating faith alongside our practical… Continue reading Homelessness: have we lost our Christianity in our caring? 24th April, central London
This weekend, I was on the BBC1 programme Sunday Morning Live (see on BBC iPlayer, 24 mins in) discussing homelessness and begging. I was on the programme because I disagree with the view of journalist Matt Broomfield who believes people should give 'directly and unconditionally' to people who are begging. Experience My views on this issue have been… Continue reading My cousin and the bitter cost of drug addiction