Tuesday, 24 November 2009

listen to the Feast on Premier Radio

You can listen by clicking here

Last week Andy, Teresa and myself attended the Inspire awards last Thursday. We didn't win but it was a great event. There are some great people doing really good works who won awards. It was fun being at the House of Commons.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Premier Radio interview

The Feast is featured on the Dennis Pethers show on Premier Radio at 7pm on Saturday evening. I understand they are using Yvonne's interview and this morning I have done a phone recording with Dennis. So tune in at 7pm on Saturday or listen via the Premier radio website after the Saturday evening broadcast.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Caring Christmas Trees

The past few weeks have been take up with the Trees project. I have learnt lots and much is groundwork for the next years. The response has been fantastic with lots of demand for flyer's. The challenge is now seeing the tree sales hit our targets. There are 196 volunteer positions over the weekend and over 25% of these have been filled already.

Part of my desire to run this tree project is that I wanted our profile to rise. This initiative has given us the opening into many schools and offices. I overheard one person expressing "this gives me an easy way of telling people at work what my church is doing". Also we have sent out a press release to a number of publications. We are hopeful for a number of media openings.

Also next week the Jericho Road Project is on the shortlist for an Inspire Award. Andy, Theresa and myself are attending the ceremony in Westminster.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Caring Christmas Trees website

Yes, this year you can help the homeless by buying a Caring Christmas Tree! Please have a look at www.caringchristmastrees.com for all the information on how to buy, how to volunteer and how to tell your family and friends. This is a great opportunity to let hundreds, hopefully thousands about the work that we are doing! There will be a big push at King's Church on the 15th and 22nd of November but it will be personal recommendations that will be so important.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Christmas Cards 2009

Yes Christmas is coming!! This year Peter Dean who started coming to the Feast about 18 months ago has designed Christmas Cards that he is selling with proceeds going to the Project. The cost is £3 for a pack of 8 cards or £5 for 2 packs (16 cards). If you would like to buy some cards they will be available on Sundays shortly or contact the office 020 8690 4646, ask for Teresa.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

How social action and sunday meetings merge together!

The longer I am involved in social action the more convinced I am that the church is the answer for our world. In Isaiah 61 there is a promise that those who were once hidden in shame, guilt and in chains will be transformed and become those who strengthen the church. So I know where I want us to get to but I am realistic that there is a journey for people to get there.

So in the last 2 weeks meetings I have seen people who have been at the bottom of the pile (in care, broken relationships, crime, prison, addiction, mental health issues) in society serving at church on our welcome teams, praying out in meetings, taking on board truth they have heard, leading meetings. And at the same time I have seen others who have been at the bottom of the pile (in care, broken relationships, crime, prison, addiction, mental health issues) in society who 'make church meetings more interesting or more challenging' - so threatening to hit someone, angry and tearful about theirs lives, displaying a strong physical response to fear.

All above is the church at its best. In each of the 3 more interesting/challenging scenarios mentioned above I am aware that this could have been a major disturbance on one of our meetings. When I walked towards the person physical throwing himself about I am not sure how they will respond. Thankfully in that situation there was a positive conclusion. We must always be aware that by reaching out and helping those who are in great pain that there will be mess and will challenge some of our normal expectations. I know that when people feel accepted for who they are we have the potential to help them make the journey to the place where they can build the church!

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Loads of training opportunities!

Coming up in the next few months

17th October - Mental Health training @ Kings
30th October - 1st Aid training @ King's
Dates yet to be confirmed for the Basic Food Hygiene

Please contact Teresa Montague at King's tmontague@kingscentre.org.uk to book a place.

The following is information about the very good“Prison Ministry Conference”, which is run by Holy Trinity Brompton on Friday 20th November.
Many churches have been experiencing a growing passion amongst members and leaders to reach out to those on the margins of society, including prisoners, ex-offenders, youth in deprived areas and those battling addictions. This conference will help to address the question “what can we do to reach these people in our prisons and on our streets?” and is an attempt to envision, equip and refresh any church/ministry leader, team or volunteer who is, or would like to be, involved in this ministry.
The material will include big picture visions, practical training, and moving testimonies and would suit leaders from churches or organisations of all sizes and denominations as well as their teams and volunteers who want to move ahead in this area.
More information is available from our website:http://www.htb.org.uk/conferences/prison-ministry-conference
Book now Click here to book online

Thursday, 17 September 2009

What makes a great Feast night?

The Feast is the outreach meeting that takes place every Wednesday night from 7.30 - 9.30. Last night was a special evening!!
1. A Full room - every seat was taken last night.
2. A peaceful atmosphere - I don't remember a single argument last night.
3. Great Food - it wouldn't be the Feast without the fabulous kitchen team.
4. Rough Sleepers - and whilst I would prefer there to be NO rough sleepers, I know they exist and I want them to be welcome at the Feast!
5. A great talk - Nick was very relaxed and communicated a simple message that God thinks you are important!
6. Prayer - there were many opportunities to pray with people throughout the evening.
7. Linking people on to other events; interviews for our housing project, the Lifegroup on Friday mornings, to Alpha, to language school.
8. Seeing residents and former residents serving with passion and delight. It is a wonderful thing.
9. Friends of the Feast who have moved on positively in their life coming back to say "hello".
10. A journalist doing interviews for Premier Radio asking why do you get involved in caring for the community.
11. I love the combination of Feast and church prayer meeting - for many reasons, here one example. Last night a lad came back to the Feast after roughly 3 years away. Very shortly after he arrived, a family arrived for the prayer meeting who had known him fairly well when he was last around. A conversation then followed about coming back to King's and needing to get right with God. He is planning to be at King's on Sunday.

Well there's 11 things that make a great Feast night. It has been a fabulous start to the term. The Christmas Feast is on the 23rd December and the Choir will be performing again, rehearsals start in November.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Homelessness Training

Introduction to Homelessness training – new dates

Housing Justice runs a one day training workshop on homelessness and related issues. It is particularly aimed at volunteers in churches and smaller homelessness projects or people new to working in the field.

The training covers: Role of the statutory and voluntary sector; homelessness law and local authority duties; mental health awareness; drugs and alcohol awareness; boundaries/dealing with conflict.

Dates Saturday 3 October and Saturday 14 November 10.00am-4.00pm
Venue: Housing Justice 22-25 Finsbury Square London EC2A 1DX
Nearest tube: Moorgate

Please speak to me if you are interested in going. It will not cost you, the project will cover the costs.


Encounter took place between 17th - 21st August in Lenchwood, near Evesham. There were 18 in our group and it was a great time, for some it was a very significant time! It is always difficult to write about other people's inner healing but I am sure the evidence will be clear to see. People discovered forgiveness, the gifts of the spirit and how to find their identity in Christ.

The days consistes of a morning session on a biblical theme, followed by sports and games until lunchtime. Then a workshop such as drama or art and then a recovery based group at 4.30. Everyone eats an evening meal together before the main evening meeting which consists of worship, teaching and ministry.

The weather was the best yet, anything would be better than the last 3 years of heavy rain, despite this year the strong wind taking out a few tents! It was a very relaxed week and I can safely say that everyone enjoyed it and no-one asked to come back to London! Please pray that those who attended will continue to seek God for their daily needs and continued healing

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Summer catch up

Well whilst I've been away, the project has not been quiet. I haven't quite worked out all the resident changes yet! This week I know of one resident who got a full time job and another resident who is getting a promotion to a full time job, which is great!

Inspire magazine has produced an article about the project and the church read it here.

I was also quoted in the South London Press about the opening of the new Housing Options Centre in Lewisham.

Next week I am taking a group to Encounter which is going to be a great week. So watch this space for a report from Encounter.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Latest from King's Money Advice

Elizabeth and the team continue to perform a wonderful job with King's Money Advice. Between January and June 2009 there were 33 new clients! And there is on going interest from clients about faith and the church. In this six month period there have been 90 appointments (this is an average of 3.5 meetings a week!!) and in addition to the 33 new clients KMA has seen 27 existing clients.

A recent KMA client came after informing his referral agency that "there was no point in going, they can't do anything for me" but after he has been to KMA stated that "he now has food on his table". Through his involvement with KMA his situation has changed significantly.

This is a very special ministry of the church! KMA is reaching parts of the community that other ministries can't reach!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Drama at the Feast

Last night the youth group from New Addington performed a fantastic drama that captivated the Feast last night. I tried and failed to load the video to this blog.

I am away at the Brighton conference next week. There are a number of people I am keen to catch up with regards our new 5 year goals as well as planning for Encounter Camp 2009 where we are taking 24 people so far (and that total looks set to increase)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Compassion 2

"Every day I die again and again I'm reborn.
Everyday I have to find the courage to walk out into the street with arms out.
Got a love you can't defeat!"
taken from 'Breathe' by U2

The challenge of compassion requires me to move into a place that can be costly. The song words are from U2's recent album and picks up a common theme in his songs the issue of surrender but his image of compassion grabs me. When I leave the house to go to the Feast, I have to decide to reach out with 'open arms' and I don't always feel like I can do it. But there is hope, the Love that God shows to us is invincible!! This tune and especially the lyrics have been running through my mind a lot lately as I have been working on the 5 year goals for the project. This afternoon I am meeting with the project leadership and planning ahead. One of the challenges I want us to address is how to make sure we continue to get out into the streets and not stay behind walls. It requires courage. Last week I spent time with the street drinkers on Rushey Green, I find it is a slightly edgy place to be, you never know what is going to happen next but it is most definitely an inspiring place to be. Spiritually I come alive in that context.

It reminds me of when I first worked at the night shelter in Bedford. The shelter had been going for 6 months and the honeymoon was most definitely over. The residents had taken over and the management had lost control. As you can imagine there was lots to learn from watching this being turned around, I was only involved from a distance. But I was a volunteer and I dreaded those nights, I would arrive at 9pm for a 3 hour shift and would be faced with a room barricaded by residents drinking alcohol. To walk there required huge courage and I had to ignore my feelings and trust God for my life (at points literally!) simply to get there.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Furniture required

I'll just list the items and if you can help, contact me on 020 8690 4646

Large bed (double or 3/4 size)
small drawers or wardrobe (must be small!)


Tuesday, 23 June 2009


On Sunday my middle daughter fell off her scooter whilst travelling at a fast speed downhill. This resulted in a lot of blood as she had put her tooth through her top lip. The owners of the house we were outside of, came out and helped us, giving us all that we needed. It was such a relief to have such lovely help. I carried on to church with 2 of our children whilst my wife Rebekah went back home with the other 2. She had only gone past a couple of houses when she heard a man talked in a loud enough voice to make sure Rebekah heard complaining in foul language about the noise and making derogatory remarks about our parenting before shutting his door. When I heard about this I felt disgusted, angry, offended. It was the opposite of compassion. I felt like going round and showing him how disfigured my daughters face was. Instead I decided to pray for him! It was my best way of dealing with my feelings.

Henri Nouwen writes that we must never "underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it."

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Feast Training is on the 21st June!!

And not the 21st July! (thanks lavern!) We will meet at 1.30pm this Sunday. If you are involved in the Feast it will be great to see you.

Well this week has brought it's share of surprising stories. We had the longest ever interview for a resident on Wednesday morning which lasted longer than 2 hours and contained all the ingredients that normally feed addictive behaviour. I was reminded and inspired that freedom is found in Christ, he is the one that can heal our shame and guilt, that can bring reconciliation and forgiveness.

Later on yesterday I found myself mediating on behalf of a patient in hospital that he should not be released with no fixed abode. Especially after they fitted him with a catheter!! How strange humanity is sometimes! Arguing that this ill man needs accomodation before he gets released from hospital.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Feast training 21st July 2009

The next Feast training takes place on Sunday 21st July at 1.30pm (straight after the second meeting). There will be a meal provided so please can you let Lucie Alley know if you are planning to come. We will be addressing some recent issues such as the difficult behaviour of some of the women who attend the Feast as well as looking ahead at where the Feast and project will go. And it is a great opportunity to get to know other members of the team. Please do try and be there!

I have recently suffered from writer's block with the blog, not sure what to write sometimes because there is too much to write other times I can't include the information because it is personal information. So here is an update the project currently has 26 residents (that is capacity).

I am reading a book called 'strength to love' which is a collection of sermons by Martin Luther King. The sermons are powerful, inspiring and are set against the backdrop of racial oppression and a world that was fearful of the future. Perhaps I will blog some more on this book.

There are 20 people currently booked into Encounter Camp which takes place between the 17th and 21st August. I am delighted by this number because this camp is a life changing experience.

The plans for Caring Christmas Trees are progressing well and I recently spent an afternoon visiting a Christmas tree farm looking at 10's of thousands of trees and a reindeer! I am very excited about this new initiative.

I am giving a lot of time to planning where we go next as a project. This involves time praying, visiting other projects and asking lots of people who are involved already what they see as the future for the Jericho Road Project. My favourite suggestion so far has been from someone at the Feast who suggested "Metal health workers".

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Nightstop UK

Nightstop UK is an organisation that I have known and worked with for all the time I have been in London. Click here to see a short video about their work.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Micah Challenge

I spent the morning at a Micah Challenge consultation meeting. The Micah Challenge operates in 40 countries and exists to "reawaken the church to its biblically-mandated, prophetic role in fighting the injustice of global poverty, whilst, and by, empowering it to play its part in efforts to hold world leaders to account for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Click here to have a look.

At this meeting I was in a group with a fascinating man called Ade Omooba. He helps run lots of social action initiatives. He is one of the key guys organizing the London Global Day of Prayer, he is co-founder of the Christian concern for our nation http://www.ccfon.org/ and is a strong anti-gun and knife crime campaigner, as a result he organized the London wide 33 days of prayer last summer that specifically prayed about that issue. And he is a really nice guy!

The following is a news article from last year when he was held at gun point in New Cross http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7663928.stm This was shortly after the 33 days of prayer. Please do look at this article!!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

900th person at the Feast

Last night's Feast was a slightly rowdy affair with a good number of people. This included a high number of women which has been a recent trend. There were 5 new people and also some friends who haven't been for quite a while. In recent weeks a typical scenario is people returning to say hello and say that they are housed and doing well, which is great encouragement.
We also welcomed the 900th(and 901st, 902nd, 903rd and 904th) person to attend the Feast since it started in January 2002.

One simple request - the Feast needs empty clean margarine tubs. Please bring them to the kitchen at King's.

Encounter Camp 2009 please click here
If you would like to come please inform me. The cost is £60, this is made up of £25 to encounter, £20 transport and £15 food.
I would love to take a really good group.

Friday, 8 May 2009

How to give to the Jericho Road Project!

I have recently prepared a document that outlines how to give financially to the Jericho Road Project and here it is.

The Jericho Road Project started in 2001 and has grown into 6 houses providing low level support for 26 residents, an outreach meeting called the Feast and a support group called LifeGroup.

The JRP is a ministry of King’s Church and operates under the legal and financial covering of the church. The Jericho Road Project is a ring fenced fund, therefore the project uses the benefits of the King’s Church office and therefore keeps costs low. However the JRP currently has a turn over of £150K and with the many people in our city that need help there is much more we would like to do.

How is the JRP financed?
Rents, combination of housing benefit and residents payments, make up the largest percent. Please be aware that the rents do not cover the support costs, the rents cover the costs of the houses plus a contribution towards the management of the project. Other sources of income are donations from individuals and churches and support from King’s Church.

How does the church contribute?
The church makes a regular payment to the JRP and also contributes the following. Office space, phone calls, IT support, legal support, paper, other resources, admin staff time, premises management, training, oversight, prayer for the project.

Do people make individual donations?
For the last couple of years individuals have been able to make regular payments and one off donations. Our group of monthly donors has made it possible to employ a full time key worker.

How do I make a financial contribution?
Please fill in the form on this flyer where you can join our regular donors. Regular donations help us to plan ahead.

You are also welcome to make one off payments, again please fill in the form. These can be made by cash, cheque (mark clearly for the JRP) or by bank transfer (use the information for standing order)

£10 a month = 1 sleeping bag a month to a rough sleeper.
£50 a month = Key working support for 1 resident each month

How do I find out more?
You are welcome to visit the Feast or LifeGroup.
Visit the blog www.socialactionjrp.blogspot.com
Request a standing order form to give regularly to the Jericho Road Project.

Thank you for reading this, please do contact us on sallen@kingscentre.org.uk or 020 8690 4646

Charity number: 1082666

Friday, 1 May 2009

Marsha Phoenix Annual lecture

Marsha Phoenix is a young women's housing project in Brockley and is great! I have just found out that they do an annual lecture, here are the details. The subject looks very interesting.

All workers and especially service users are warmly invited to our annual lecture
Venue;- Goldsmiths University in the Ian Guilard lecture theatre,
Date/time; Wednesday 05.05.09 4.30pm and Tea is provided!

This year's lecture is delivered by Professor Ann Phoenix and is entitled
Adults looking back; re conceptualising non normative childhoods"
- How adults reflect on difficult childhood experiences

The event is free!! no need to book; just turn up!

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

I have just listened to the baptism stories from Easter Sunday and have made some brief notes. Two amazing stories made more significant due to the connection between the countries they are from. They are now good friends.

Antonio – Eritrean
He was kidnapped and forced into the army (at war with Ethiopia) – really bad experience saw lots of killing and forced to kill himself.
After 2 years he got out and went to Italy. Later moved in UK, his language teacher was Richard who helped him move into the Jericho Road Project. Often Antonio would tell Richard that he wants to change his life. Started going to king’s and on the Alpha course decided that he wanted to follow Jesus.

Simtao – Ethiopian
He was on the other side of the war. He had a very bad experience. In prison for 2 years, had bad torture and his back was broken. Also his wife was killed and his son went missing.
A refugee in the UK he found life very difficult. His language teacher, Francis, introduced him to King’s Money Advice for his debt issues. He went on Alpha and described one answer to his prayers. Still crying lots about his wife being killed he made contact with his son. He talks to him and one day hopes to bring him to England. He has found faith in Jesus on Alpha and loves coming to church.

What a wonderful message of reconciliation!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Housing Options Centre is moving!

I have worked in Lewisham for 7 1/2 years and throughout that time there have been plans to move the Housing Options Centre. As chair of the Lewisham Homelessness Forum I have expressed concern at the poor state of the building and how that contributes negatively to people's experience of the service. Finally the move is happening! Here is the press release.

On Friday 24th April 2009 the Housing Options Centre reception area at 3 Rosenthal Road, Catford, will close.
At 9am on Monday 27th April a new Housing Options Centre reception will open at 1a Eros House, Brownhill Road, Catford, SE6 2EG. If you or your customers are visiting us then you/they will in future need to go to Eros House to see any of the following services:
Housing options - initial assessment and homeless prevention
Housing rights advice
Homelessness assessment
Offers of temporary accommodation
The Rent Incentive Scheme
The Private Sector Leasing team
The 2010 team
Please telephone us on 020 8314 7007 or email HousingOptionsEnquiry@lewisham.gov.uk for further information.

In addition if you are looking for work this was sent through to me this week.
There are job vacancies at Shelter for Team Leader and Senior Adviser. For more information click here

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Social Action Conference 2009

This is a report about the conference that took place on Saturday, 15 of us from the Feast attended.

Where can the homeless person sit in your church? How does the non-reader learn about Jesus? How can the non-english speaking Asylum Seeker hear the gospel? With these questions Guy Miller challenged us to consider the poor in our church contexts.

Why would 250+ people travel to Milton Keynes on a sunny Saturday and pay good money to be challenged in this way? Because we as a movement are committed to preaching the gospel and serving the poor. Hundreds of us are involved in numerous projects, here in the UK and across the nations, helping reach those in need with the good news of Jesus Christ.

In the main session, Guy encouraged us to keep a sense of humour and to keep our FOCUS using the letters as a basis for his message. Faith, Origins (of poverty, shame & alienation), Church (not just projects), Universal sense of calling (to the nations), Salvation (not just works but also Word).

Seminars in the morning included, Peter Lyndon from Brighton used a tray of “seedlings” to show how nurturing gifting can lead to a seed-bed of social action within your church. Jim Harper, Elder at Worcester, answered the question Can people really be set free? Yes, they can! Nick Priggis from North Shrewsbury asked Can we really change our Communities? And, yes, we can! Tim Davies, Buxton Church in the Peak shared about their experience of linking in a very real way with the church in Clarens, South Africa and the growth and blessings that has brought to both churches.

Stands showed the work of Bethany Christian Trust (Homelessness), Boaz Trust (Asylum Seekers), CareConfidential, Community Money Advice, Christians Against Poverty, Life for the World Trust. Over lunch there were testimonies from a number of projects including Encounter Camp, seeing people with life controlling issues receive spiritual breakthrough.

In the afternoon, seminars were “How to’s”. How to: Start a project from scratch; Maintain good practice, Preach the gospel to the poor; Engage & have influence; and How to Fundraise.

Heather Miller shared with us stories of prostitutes they have met and helped on the streets of Bournemouth. Encouragements and set-backs, lessons learned and many tears shed.

The day ended with more challenges from Guy: Are we attracting the poor into our churches? Are we willing to invite the poor into our homes? Are we willing to live more simply and give away more to the poor?

Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Feast has definitely got talent!

Last night was a fabulous occasion at the Feast. It was our first 'Talent' night and it was such a delight. The Feast Choir, led so well by Miranda, performed 5 songs and had extra guests joining them on stage during the evening. Sharon compared and also sang 'Somewhere over the Rainbow', Andrew and Gary played guitar and sang. Francis did a karate display including doing the splits. Lucreta performed some poetry, Spider did a rap about the Feast. Peter gave his testimony which was a wonderful story of how God has revealed himself through the Holy Spirit. One final reflection on the evening was the joy people had in getting involved, best summed up by Malcolm's dancing through out the choir's performances. Hopefully I will be able to get hold of the photos to put them on the blog.

Do you want a volunteering opportunity??? There is a very important cleaning job to be done at one of the houses. If you can offer to help do a thorough deep clean on a Kitchen please contact me. I haven't got the date yet but we will provide all the equipment!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The Feast has talent!

Tomorrow night we are holding a different night at the Feast. Along with the choir there will be a number of performances and one of the contacts is going give his testimony of how he came to know Jesus. Please feel free to come along - anything could happen!

Also if you have not made your mind up, it is not too late to book into the social action conference which is happening this Saturday. After a slow start due to information going out late, there are now lots of bookings coming in and the total passed 200 today. I am sure it will be a fabulous day. All the details are available here.

I was not at King's this last weekend and I missed seeing Antonio and Simtayo getting baptised. What a wonderful demonstration of God's mercy and grace.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Social Action Conference 2009

Remember the Poor!!

The conference is only 17 days away and therefore I need your help to make sure all the bookings get in as soon as possible. If you are from King's Church you may book in yourself or we can book you in. At the Feast tonight the team will be able to book themselves in. All the details can be found by clicking here.

Please consider coming to the event. It is a great day to be reminded and inspired about why we are doing what we do. Guy Miller, our main speaker, will be inspiring!I love the worship at these days. There is such common purpose in declaring before God the truth that we are set free and that regardless of our background, education, financial status, criminal activity, broken families, unemployment, debt (and the list goes on) we are all equal before God. Also the seminars will equip us to do what we are doing better!

The other great encouragement to attend this conference is that you meet and hear stories of others who are involved in similar projects across the country.

It is not too late to book in - if you want to come along please do it today!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Three days away in Chepstow

The project holiday to Chepstow went extremely well. Firstly there are great facilities at the centre with plently of games of table tennis and pool. There was plently of food and hanging out. We had some time dicsussing a biblical passage. We went on a walk along the River Wye which was very spectacular and spent Tuesday walking up a mountain called Sugar Loaf. On Wednesday we spent the morning doing archery where we went from beginners to experts in 3 hours. The photos are all taken on top of Sugar Loaf!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

catch up time

The absence of a blog since the 6th March indicates the recent workload plus the last few days illness. So in summary ...

There are numerous resident changes including Louise finally moving into a 2 bedroom flat today. Last week I visited a flat that one of the men had moved into and it is really lovely with a great view over playing fields. Among the new residents there is a lady who had lost her home last August due to repossession, stayed in a car for 4 months and then stayed in winter shelter with 14 men before she moved in. If you have any spare pots and pans they would be really appreciated.

The social action conference is all planned and all we need now is for people to book in!

There are between 12-15 of us going to Chepstow for 3 days next week. We will have lots of fun, have morning devotions, go and do archery, eat well and go on walks. Only in this job does the total going constantly change by the day, so only after we have set off will I know how many we are taking!

The Alpha course has been excellent this term with a large group going through. The feedback has been great.

This Friday at Life group we have a Stop Smoking special. A brave lady from the PCT is going to attempt to help people break the addiction that is the 'hardest' to stop.

Friday, 6 March 2009

The newfrontiers social action conference

The conference called 'Remember the Poor' takes place on Saturday 18th April in Milton Keynes. Please look at the booking info by clicking here. If you are at King's Church we will be organising transport to the event. Also the Flyer's will be available at church from this Sunday.

Last years conference seminars are still available to hear. Click here. Plus if you have never heard Simon Pettit's talk from 1998 called Remember the Poor, listen to it by clicking here.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

News on the 6th house

The 6th house is going extremely well. All four moved in on the first day and are really engaged with the project. In fact two of the guys have become Christians in the last few weeks.
The weather when the photos were taken does not reflect the positive affect this house has had on the residents.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Job Vacancy at Nightstop

Greenwich and Lewisham Nightstop @ Youthreach – a registered charity providing emergency accommodation, support and counselling to young people in the boroughs of Greenwich and Lewisham, has an exciting opportunity for a Development Manager.
Project Development Manager – Maternity Cover
25 hours per week.
£27,675p.a. pro rata

Are you a dynamic and innovative person with an interest and passion for preventing homelessness amongst young people?

Greenwich and Lewisham Nightstop provide emergency accommodation on a one night at a time basis for 16 – 25 year olds in the homes of Volunteers. The project also runs an education and outreach programme which delivers homelessness prevention work in local schools and agencies.

You will be responsible for:
o maintaining relationships with current funders;
o seeking further funding for the project;
o overseeing project finances;
o managing project staff;
o publicising and developing the project:
o networking with other agencies locally and nationally
o reporting to Director and Management Committee of Youthreach

Secondments welcome.

For an application pack or more information please contact Rebecca Bickley on: 020 8269 2200 or email rebeccab@youthreach.org.uk.

Youthreach is an equal opportunities employer and positively encourages applications from suitably qualified and eligible candidates regardless of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, or religion or belief.

Closing date for applications: 23rd March 2009
Interviews: week commencing 6th April 2009
Start date: week commencing 1st June 2009

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Jericho Road Holiday

This year we are taking the residents (plus other jrp friends) away for three days to a residential centre near Chepstow later on this month. Each time we have done this it has been a superb time of deepening friendships, discovering truth from the bible, plenty of fun and lots of stories to tell. But probably the simplest reality is that it takes people out of their 'normal' environment, it breaks up the usual and allows people to breath and take a check on how they are doing. For many who live on the project, our holidays provide the only planned change to their routine. It is therefore healthy and productive for the project to go on holiday. Last year we organised canoeing and high ropes, this year we may a little more relaxed and have a go at archery!

Whilst I am thinking ahead, the new frontiers Social Action Conference takes place on the 18th April 2009 in Milton Keynes. I am leading the team that are organising this event. This year the conference is called 'Remember the Poor' and Guy Miller from Bournemouth is the main speaker. This week flyers will be in church and the website is due to go live for bookings any day now.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Residents on the move!

Returning from a weeks holiday means catching up on lots of work. and that means that I have not been able to start blogging until now.

The end product of a low support housing project working well is to see residents moving on into their own accomodation with really good support. In the next week 2 of our residents will be moving onto their own places and that is a cause of great celebration. Both have got good support and friends. As a project we will stay in contact and provide support and help when necessary. One way to help is by providing furniture and there are a couple of items .

There is still need for the following: chest of drawers x2, table and chairs and a bike.

If you can help please contact me.

Monday, 9 February 2009

26 Residents!!

Today we open the 6th house and achieve our goal of 26 residents. I will get photos on the blog very soon and in due course look to mark the event in some way. However there are lots of practical jobs that have to be done and then working with the residents to establish the house on good foundations.

Thanks to all those who have worked so hard to make this house happen.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Giving to the Jericho Road Project 1

I have been planning to blog about giving to the project for a few days and this morning to my complete surprise there was an anonymous donation of 10 sleeping bags. Which is very timely indeed!

There are numerous offers each week from people who want to give to the JRP. These can be summarised as

1. Direct financial payment to JRP
2. Indirect payment (purchase of items that are required such as a microwave or sleeping bags)
3. Time volunteering at events, key working, providing lifts, helping with cleaning/painting
4. Donating household items / clothing
5. Wisdom (People who have skills/knowledge/contacts that contribute to lives on the project)

All of the above are significant for the project and I will break it down into five different blogs with details about how each one works.

Obviously in the church / community that we are involved in, giving happens that is beyond the 'official' project routes I have described above. I immediately think of individuals who have put up curtains in flats or paid for events and these are fantastic demonstrations of care.

The one guideline that we have always encouraged is for people not to give cash directly to people, whether that is at the Feast or at church or even elsewhere. When asked by someone begging on a train or in the street, we have encouraged people to buy food or a hot drink rather than hand over cash. The other answer if you want to support homeless people is to give to a charity that is making a difference in people's lives and getting people off the street and into homes.

I will also add a further blog which explains in further detail what the project gives out to people in need and how this happens.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Rob returns to the Feast

This is Rob and Debbie who attended the Feast last night. Rob first came to the Feast in May 2002 and he became the first ever resident on the housing project in September 2004. During this time he became a Christian and began to volunteer at the Feast. With help from his key worker he began to rebuild his life including replacing his teeth which had had years of damage. In 2007 he moved to Bedford to work at a nightshelter where he is now a paid member of staff. It was really inspiring to hear him encouraging people who have lost their way to persevere. The Feast continues to offer hope to the hopeless every week and Rob is a living demonstration of where hope can take you!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

New house news

Next week is the start of the sixth house! There will be a couple of residents moving between houses and then 3 new men moving into the project. Later on next week there will be a new resident moving in when one of the girl's moves into her own place. Therefore if you have any time on Monday (9th) or Friday (13th) where you could help people move that would be really helpful. Ideally a couple of hours during the day and if you have a car that would be fantastic. Please call me or email me. Also we may need a single or double bed, if you have a good quality bed that you no longer need please do contact the office.

The AA big book book discussion group has been put back a week and will start on the 15th February 2009 at the changed time of 7.30 at King's Church Centre.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Neighbours on the Jericho Road

Well the snow changed a lot of plans! It prevented our new fortnightly housing surgery from starting and the newfrontiers (the group of churches we are connected to) 'prayer and fasting' days are not happening hence I am in the office rather than in Peterborough. In fact I love the snow and spent most of yesterday out sledging with my family. With no buses running and plenty of community time it felt like Christmas Day. But I am also aware that for those who are sleeping rough or the elderly or those lacking the means to heat their flat it is a deeply miserable time. Earlier in January on this blog I made reference to the Jericho Road story that Jesus told which hinges on the question "who was a neighbour?" and the answer is the man who showed mercy.

At the last two Feasts we have had many rough sleepers. We continue to send people to the winter shelters around London and especially the Deptford and the Bromley shelters. How vital that these shelters exist! I am in regular contact with these centres to make the connections for people turning up at King's who are without shelter.

I also know from years of managing a night shelter that when you are running these shelters it can be very challenging. Maintaining appropriate behaviour demands much from those running these centres. Often there are very difficult decisions are required. When Jesus said 'Go and do likewise' (show mercy) he obviously knew that not everyone who is cared for is going to be nice and respond gratefully. Caring for our neighbours will always require us to go beyond our selves, whether it is a religious divide, a language barrier, a moral mess or a time challenge!

Next Monday we start a new house (our sixth) meaning that 26 residents will be housed and supported. Some of these new residents are currently staying in the winter shelters I described earlier. I am waiting to confirm what we will need to provide for the new house but in general it will be well furnished! Later this week I will be blogging on how you can contribute to the work. There are numerous inquires each week about furniture and ways that you can help people directly, others want to know how to give financially. More of that later on.

Whilst writing this I have been pulled away to be a 'neighbour'. Firstly a drunk, slightly abusive lady who I have never met before and secondly a man I have not seen for over 2 years who continues to try to find a way through his addiction/mental health issues and his Christian faith. As I have said before there are many people who have been beaten up by life on the Jericho Road.

Thursday, 29 January 2009


Next Monday is the first housing advice surgery run by Shelter. They will offer legal support for people who are facing evictions, repossessions, neighbour issues, repairs and landlord issues. Basically if you or someone you know needs housing advice please call 0844 515 1250. (Do not call King's Church office, they cannot book appointments). Shelter will make an appointment for the next available time.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Handling Criticism

This is a document that was handed out last night at the training on handling conflict.

Why will I be criticised?
1. Leadership must make choices
2. People have high expectations
3. People are human! Leaders and followers are all prone to mistakes and sin

How do I personally respond to criticism?
1. Defensiveness/justification
2. Depression “ I want to give up”
3. Blame others
4. People pleasing – say the desired words / make erratic changes / grasp at anything
5. Prayerful consideration
6. Obsession – dwell on and think about it.

Why can criticism be helpful?
1. We all have blind spots
2. Helps you keep in touch with people
3. Can be an expression of loyalty – stand with you
4. Makes you live in a place of humility – rather than assume everything is right
5. It is important to give people a place for dealing with their questions/criticism
6. When criticism comes externally you are sharing in the sufferings of Christ

How do I evaluate criticism?
1. What is really being said? OR What are they asking for? Need to give people space to talk about it and deal with it
2. Is the criticism true? (Leaving aside the manner it is said in). Does the crticism represent the reality or is it a personal issue? Beware the line “I have talked to lots of people who feel like this”
3. Does this issue more relate to past issues for that person bringing the criticism. Consider the maturity and track record of the source.
4. If it is true do I want to see change in it? AND/OR is it something I can do about it now OR in the future.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Handling conflict

Tonight is the training session on handling conflict and agression. There have been various requests for the notes so I am including the basic notes on the blog. At the training we will be doing some role plays and also discussing how to respond to criticism. Please do make it tonight (7.45 for 8 @ King's) for the complete experience.

Training notes
The aim should be to bring change to the person, NOT to punish. When conflict situations are handled well, relationships are established on a better foundation and the person involved feels safer.

1. If at all possible, have relationship with the person. If you are in a situation without relationship, create a relational opening. “Hi my name is …

2. Stay calm – Rely on internal not external authority

3. Speak gently – Prov. 15:1 ‘a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.’

4. Know clearly what you are aiming to achieve.

5. Keep hands down.

6. Keep hands open: by doing this you do not create the impression you are hiding something.

7. Get down low. Men especially: don’t look down on other men, it is intimidating.

8. Use the person’s name.

9. Maintain as much eye contact as possible.

10. Stand your ground – you establish that you are not backing down or conceding (physically or in the discussion).

11. Do not walk forward: it may intimidate the person.

12. Where possible, do not be alone: Have someone close by who can support you if you need help.

13. Where possible, speak to the person in a discreet and private place. This avoids embarrassing him/her, perhaps being over-heard.

14. Keep the conversation on the key issue. Comments like “Your team member doesn’t like me” or “Who says that you are right?” are simply distractions.

15. Listen carefully to the person.

16. If people get angry with each other get them away from each other as possible as quickly as possible.

17. Team to be well trained at procedures e.g. when to call the police, who calls and what do they say.

18. Beware the crowd factor. People love to watch a scene - to add fuel to the fire, to even join in. When this happens, the person being confronted has more reason and pressure to play up.

19. Afterwards, do not pretend to be the superhero. Be real. Say if you felt scared. Get prayer.

20. Learn from the experience – review with the team.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Big demand!

Today Andy and I are doing six interviews for the new men's house, added to the four in the last week it means that there are 10 men applying and only 3 vacancies. This shows again the demand for what is a fairly unique service - low support housing that has rents low enough for people to get back into work. The new house is due to start within the next three weeks.

Last night we had between 7 and 10 genuine rough sleepers at the Feast, which is higher than usual. For 3 we were able to directly link them to winter shelters that can help them, one of the issues is that acceptance is often dependent on having a local borough connection. There are winter shelters across London and the closest are Deptford and Bromley. But due to our high numbers of applicants for the JRP we could not offer them interviews for our project. One of our answers is to keep residents moving on and this week one of our residents is viewing a potential property . Residents moving on is important because it keeps the project healthy and I always celebrate positive move-on's.

Finally thanks for your encouraging comments about the blog.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Training evening

The training on handling conflict and aggressive behaviour is taking place next Tuesday evening at King's Church Centre. If you are involved in the Jericho Road Project or you have a job that involves any form of conflict management or you simply want to improve your people skills this will be a great evening to come to. Tea and Coffee is at 7.45 and we will start at 8pm. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

New developments on the Jericho Road

There are number of new developments on the JRP in 2009. On the 2nd February I am really excited that Liz Surridge will be starting on a one day a week basis where she will be managing the women's house. This is a vital role in providing the best for the five women who live in our house. Liz has been involved in the project for many years and has also much experience from her social work.

Also on the 2nd February Shelter, the national housing advice agency, will start providing expert advice at King's Church Centre. This will happen on Monday afternoons initially on a fortnightly basis. This will cover issues such as evictions, nuisance neighbours, repairs, legal rights etc. Again this will increase the impact and the quality that we can provide for people in need. I will be advertising the number for booking an appointment shortly. Anyone can access this service.

Another new development is the start of the 'Catford Big Book discussion group' which will be an AA meeting based on the Christian solution. This will be led by Jonny and Heather Gani (from King's). The meeting will be between 4.00pm - 5.15pm on Sundays (just the right time for attending the 5.30 service) at King's Church Centre and the first meeting will be on the 8th February. I am excited about the opportunities this meeting provides for people from outside the church to get real answers.

Finally Louise and Brian have named their child Amalia Louise Gabriel and they are all doing really well.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

New birth on the Jericho Road

Yesterday Louise, a resident on the project, gave birth to a baby girl. The baby weighed 6lb 14oz and both mother and baby look well. The baby was born at home without Louise needing painkillers or, for most of the time, any professional help due to it all happening so quickly. The arrival of a baby is a wonderful moment and it is lovely to celebrate with Louise and Brian. They are planning to announce the name of the baby soon.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Two men on the Jericho Road

On Wednesday at the Feast, there were many beaten up people (not all of them physically!) who are on the Jericho Road in need of mercy. One of them was facing imminent eviction due to now being considered non priority for housing. He has mental health and addiction issues, he has been very low and did not know what to do. As a Feast team at the end of the evening we prayed for him. Shortly after when most people had left, a church member who was practising for the choir that evening came up to me and said that given her current job could she be of help. She was the answer to our prayers. She has a role working in the addiction and mental health field and also she worked in the same area our friend lived. She was able to speak to him on Wednesday night and he then went to see her on Thursday. The great news is that he is now not being evicted and he is in contact with people who can help him with his addiction issues. It was God's timing!

Again on Wednesday another young man described how he now had a flat but had nothing in it. By the next evening someone from King's had taken him a TV and video. He popped in today and we are planning how to get him sorted out. He is looking for a bed, fridge, microwave, a sofa and other basic needs.

When the Samaritan came to the beat up man, he bandaged his wounds, he put the man in his own transport, housed him and paid for further care to be given. (Luke 10:30-37)

In the last few minutes someone has offered to financially help this young man and another person is offering a very nice wardrobe. On this Jericho Road there are many beat up people but there is also great mercy being shown to them.

Finally, today was the first time that the new Lifegroup met, starting at 10.30, it was a very encouraging start offering support, personal sharing time, bible study and prayer. This group now meets every Friday morning. By moving to Friday, the support provided by the JRP is spread throughout the week and it is easier for people who attend the Feast to remember to attend a group on Friday.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Immense worth!

King's Money Advice has been operating since April 2008 and Elizabeth Mayes has done a fantastic job in getting the Advice centre running so well. The following is a factual summary of the work that KMA has done.

There have been 62 clients in total and 34 of these are currently active. There have been a total of 153 meetings. The majority (49 out of 62) have approached KMA due to Debt issues. 7 have approached KMA due to budgeting issues and 6 due to welfare benefits issues.

One client came through hearing about our service at his secular ESOL class. He has since attended Alpha, regularly attends church and is now enquiring about baptism.

Given the current economic climate this ministry is absolutely vital. Elizabeth and the team have done wonderfully and are definitely a demonstration of the kingdom of God at work.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The Weekly Timetable

There are a number of changes to the support that is provided by the project and the church which is summerised below. All of them take place at King's Church Centre.

Sunday services - 09.30am to 11.00am, 11.30am to 1.00pm & 5.30pm to 7.00pm- Followed by Coffee Bar (Including free drink at the Coffee bar for project residents)

AA Step group- 4.00pm to 5.15pm led by John & Heather Gani

Small group held fortnightly- Bible study-Please speak to Andy, Richard or Lucy

Freedom in Christ- Evenings starting 13th January- must book in with Martin Alley

Wednesday Welcome (Elderly peoples lunch club) - volunteers must book in with Ruth Misselbrook

The Feast - Volunteers start at 4.00pm – Evening starts at 7.15pm for prayer

Alpha & Alpha plus- 7.15pm to 9.30pm – starts 22nd January - Exploring Christianity- Meal, a short talk & discussion group

Lifegroup- 10.30am to 12.00pm- Recovery & Support- Starting with cake & finishing with soup

Extra information
Access to Benefit & medical help
See Andy Moffat or call him on 07837 010984

Budgeting & Debt Kings money advice call 07792 386 837 or Email moneyadvice@kingscentre.org.uk

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

On the Jericho Road

I hope you are ready for another year. There is so much to look forward to. It was a fabulous Sunday to start the year, Stuart who lives in a project house was baptised along with Sharon and Sharron who have recently started helping at the Feast. In the morning a resident chose to give his life to Christ and in the process felt forgiven from past criminal activity. What a great day!

The Feast starts again tomorrow night and new for 2009 is that the support group is moving from Tuesday afternoon to Friday morning between 10.30 and 12.00 based at King's.

There is a training session for all volunteers on the evening of the 27th January 2009 which will focus on handling difficult situations and conflict between people in a way that honours God, respects people and diffuses aggression. This training aims to help volunteers feel confident in their roles and able to intervene should difficult situations arise.

This morning I was reading the story of the beaten up man on the Jericho Road. The Samaritan response to the need is an incredible lesson in generosity. Way beyond even a simple act of compassion, the Samaritan man invests his own resources to secure safety for the beaten up man. When Jesus asked "who was the neighbour?", the expert in the law replied "the one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him "Go and do likewise." As we start a new year lets be those who demonstrate great mercy to those on the Jericho Road!