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.