Church with a conscience?

The temperature has just plummeted on Salisbury Plain and it is always a stark reminder to us of what life is like for those who are homeless in this country at this time of year. Because of our promixity to Salisbury, the parish have long been supporters of both the Trussell Trust, and Alabare. But what does ‘support’ really mean? Do we really make a difference?

The things we think are important are: offering shelter. Occasionally people have taken shelter in the porches of our churches or even inside- where temperatures aren’t always much better. At this time of year, we’d rather they were properly indoors and so we try to ensure we work with local colleagues to offer decent shelter overnight.

Offering food and clothes. We follow the appeals on social media for Alabare and in recent weeks have delivered tents, sleeping bags and warm clothes including underwear to their project working with those who currently live on the streets. We also try to focus our food collections so that they are shared between Alabare and the Trussell Trust. We are a mini hub for the Trussell Trust and can therefore refer people for food parcels at short notice. This is something that is often done in partnership with our friends in the Plain Church Community in Shrewton.

And we also pray, and make financial contributions. Members of the church community have participated in fundraising, such as the sleep out for Alabare. We also encourage our community to pray for those who are homeless or in need, finding the ideas for prayer offered by Alabare a truly inspirational focus for our thoughts (you can see some of the things the homeless would pray for in the image accompanying this post). But we are not experts in this realm, and so the best thing we can do at a moment of crisis, is to signpost and find the right help at the right moment.

So this winter, if you come across someone in our villages who you think needs some practical support, but you don’t know where to turn, please do use this great page on Alabare’s website. Alabare