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 work as a painter and decorator. He was… 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
My daughter and I have just got back from WLM's Sleep Out held last night in the grounds of St James’ Church, Piccadilly. It was an uplifting evening. 82 supporters gave up their bed for the night to sleep out and (so far) we have raised £35,000 for our work to bring rough sleepers in from… Continue reading No one can take steps for others on the hard road of recovery
Recently I was contacted by a Mum whose 5 year old daughter wanted to do something to help homeless people. What struck me was that their family situation is not at all easy - the daughter has additional needs and the family don't have a permanent home themselves at the moment and are staying with relatives.… Continue reading Hope in action (even if you’re little you can do a lot)