Thursday, 21 July 2011

5 ex rough sleepers walking a marathon

FUNDRAISING FOR THE FEAST  -  The £1 challenge

The Feast is our weekly outreach meeting for homeless and vulnerable people. 
Every £1 given provides a 3 course meal for a homeless person on a Wednesday night.
5 men who are ex-rough sleepers are going to walk a marathon distance (over 26 miles) on the North Downs Way from Rochester to Botley Hill near Woldingham – 11th August 2011.
Here are the famous five ... and we asked them 2 questions.

 Malcolm  How long were you rough sleeping?  5 1/2 years
 Why support the feast?  “It’s a great place that helps people”

 Dave How long were you rough sleeping?  1 year
 Why support the feast?  “helps people get off the street”
Terry How long were you rough sleeping?  On and off for 7 years
Why support the feast?  “the people at the Feast have shown me concern and compassion. It’s time for me to give something back”
Peter How long were you rough sleeping?  On and off for 10 years
Why support the feast?  “we act as a family”

Jamie How long were you rough sleeping?  12 weeks
Why support the feast?  “How happy having a meal makes you feel. It’s the greatest thing in the world when you are on the street.”
Please help by signing up to the £1challenge - each person can give maximum £1, but if you are creative you can find a way to give more.  Perhaps pay for all those in your family, last year someone paid for their pets. Email to sign up!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Encounter Camp feedback night

Encounter Camp 2011 was held between 20th-24th June and was a brilliant week.  There is so much to talk about that we are holding a feedback night this evening - 7.45pm at King's Church Catford.  There will be cakes to start followed by some film footage of the Encounter fun including Darren and Malcolm dancing, not together though.  We also want to live out what we learnt at Encounter, which means that we want to give away what we have.  Therefore there will be a time of worship, prayer and prophecy. 

Everyone is welcome to attend this evening's meeting and if you like to forward plan here are the dates for 2012 - 11th -15th June. This year 17 came with us and I am hoping that 40 people from King's will come next year.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Crazy Comical Cycling

On Tuesday I cycled to Brighton and on Friday I cycled back,  It is the furthest I have ever cycled and it is something that I knew I was capable of but it was reassuring to actually achieve this.  It took me 3hours 59mins to cycle 66 miles to Brighton and 3hours 17mins to cycle back because I only needed to cycle 56 miles!  I then imagine how much faster the Tour riders are going.  Well I averaged 17.3 mph (almost 28kph on the return journey.  The tour riders average 43-45kph on flattish stages.  Remarkable speeds!

I learnt some things along the way.  I learnt that I couldn't attack the hills as I do on 20/30 mile rides.  I found out I had no power left so needed to go through the gears and keep the tempo high (aerobic rather than power).  Thank you to my friend Matt Cooke for his advice.  This really helped on Ditchling Beacon and on the return through Westerham which is surprisingly hilly.  It meant that I mentally was happy just to get up rather than have time targets or trying to catch up with another cyclist and then the great thing was that I was able to cycle strongly away from the top.  I also learnt that you have to stay mentally strong, even when someone shouts from their car and makes me jump or when I fell over at traffic lights in Bromley.  It was the first time I had fallen due to using cleats. (which means that my feet are attached to the pedal)  Another comical moment was when I fell over my bike in the hotel and jammed the sprocket into my ankle leaving me with some fine looking wounds.

Which obviously brings me to the joy of watching the Tour de France.  Quite simply stunning!  This event operates on so many levels and I seem to learn more about it each year.  The team dynamics are very complex but they are remarkable teams.  This article from the Toronto Star described the beauty of the
team and significant the domestiques are.  The riders are absolutely superb athletes and often appear machine-like. I like the itv4 coverage, there is great commentary and wise use of the advert breaks - Thanks!. 

But having cycled over 100 miles in 2 rides this week I have one slightly different view of the riders.
They get paid to have that much fun!  Yes they are in pain but simply cycling for a living and being part of such a brilliant event easily makes up for that. 

Thursday, 7 July 2011

"It's better to squat in England than live in Romania"

I don't like hearing the statement above when it's a single person saying it but I am especially concerned when it's said by parents, in this case there are 2 children involved (6 months and 5 years old).  The reason given is that there are no jobs in Romania; we will have to wait and see if there are jobs for him in SE London!  Having not been to Romania it is hard to make comment on why it is so tough in Romania (or Latvia, Czech Rep, Poland etc) that makes travelling to a new country and then living a dangerous life of finding squats.  Are other countries experiencing this in reverse? 

I know there are reasons why England/Britain is a good choice.  Comparatively we have it very good and our health system is still a most remarkable thing.  A different parent from Eastern Europe explained that simply having a free health care system for giving birth meant that it was better to live in England.  But these cases do leave me confused.  There are so many questions that this presents;what really goes on for a family to chose this, where are their families?, is it right to have children living in a squat knowing that any day the police might stop you from living in that property, what about health and education, food and shelter - ultimately the most basic human needs are in question.

What was remarkable about the couple last night is that they and her especially were the most upbeat and resourceful people.  She smiled and explained that because they have no electricity she persuades the owner of a fast food stall to heat up her babies bottle.  She did not complain and talked of her faith that God would provide for them.

They had a huge impact on me last night.  Just to finish, a few years ago I read a book called the The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins which described how people groups are displaced on a global scale for many reasons and how the church becomes the light on the hill that people go to because it is visible.  Jenkins described how big churches in global cities would gather people from all over the world.  

So let the light shine!!