Opening Our Doors

Idecided early in 2012 not to send Christmas cards, but that I would email greetings and put the money saved to a worthwhile cause. So when we started talking about St John’s involvement with The Shelter Project Hounslow I realised this was the worthwhile cause. My idea of an Open House in aid of the TSPH followed on, as a ‘cheer up’ in the New Year.

I am reminded of the night, some years ago, that I sat talking to “Mac” in my car. He was a hardened alcoholic whom I sometimes bumped into when he came to the drop-in at Richmond. He showed me his patch, under the arches. He told me how difficult it was to get sleep; if you slept deeply, someone might come and steal your things, or you would get beaten up. He had lost his sleeping bag, so I went home to give him mine.

When I returned home I was absolutely frozen. It took an age to get warm. I don’t suppose my thin sleeping bag was much protection for Mac, but he seemed very grateful. A year or so later I heard he had died. He had been on the streets too long.

I don’t feel that then, or now, I been much good engaging with homeless people on the streets. But TSPH gives us all opportunity to do something to help the homeless and it’s really great that the churches are working together in such a practical way. For some of the guests, this will be a vital step on the road to rebuilding their life. We can all help out practically, as part of a team, to give a warm welcome to all coming to St John’s. It will be fun and I have a feeling there will be lots of cake!

Thank you to everyone who came to my Open House last Saturday and to the makers of the excellent cakes. We raised more than £250.

PENNY COOKE