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

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!