This year marks 130 years since the founding of the West London Mission. It was in October 1887 that WLM began its work to bring spiritual and practical hope to people affected by poverty. Back then in Victorian London we ran food depots, clothing stores, soup kitchens and even a job service for unemployed servants.… Continue reading Doing To or Being With? Re-thinking Christian social engagement
My recent article on Why Pope Francis is wrong about begging was re-posted on the popular Christian blog Psephizo and a number of church leaders commented on the challenge that this issue poses for them. It again reminded me of how churches, vicarages and manses are at the front line of this issue because of… Continue reading A soft-touch? Why Christians need to stop being doormats
This week I was at a church in central London, talking with the minister when a man came to the door asking for help. He explained that he was not from London but his wife had just been discharged from UCH (a London hospital) following an emergency operation. He said they had nowhere to stay… Continue reading Why Pope Francis is wrong about begging
A few years ago, I was on the south bank in London, near Waterloo station, and I got talking with a homeless man called Richard. He had approached me asking for money. He was in a bad state. He showed me the most terribly infected open wounds on both his arms and legs caused by… Continue reading I Believe in a Thing called Sin
The annual service to commemorate homeless people who have died in the past year was held today at packed St Martins-in-the-Fields church, central London. As part of the service, The Choir with No Name and Streetwise Opera performed songs and the names of 160 homeless people who have died in the past year were… Continue reading Personal tragedy and political failure: remembering homeless people who have died in the past year
One of my favourite parts of my job is when I am asked to facilitate the spirituality discussion group at West London Mission's Day Centre for homeless people. We see around a hundred rough sleepers every day who come in for breakfasts, showers, medical help and appointments with our team. The spirituality discussion group meets every Tuesday. At… Continue reading What would the prophet Amos say to Donald Trump?
Today, George Orwell is remembered as one of the most significant authors of the 20th century, mainly due to the literary and political impact of his most famous books, Animal Farm and 1984. But when Orwell moved to London in the late 1920s to begin writing he decided to intentionally spend time amongst homeless people.… Continue reading Down and Out in Cardiff and London: a George Orwell for the Facebook generation