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Posts Tagged ‘Inner city’

Gone Autumn News

Those of you who follow the progress of Gone, our friend who’s been long term homeless, will be sad to hear that he’s back in prison for a stint. The good news is that he managed over four months in the hostel up the road from us and they’re happy to have him back when he’s released. Sadly, he was in a bit of a state after our two week holiday, which coincided with hostel staff leave. That was when he managed to get himself arrested and we weren’t looped in so couldn’t help at the magistrate’s.

Prison will also be an opportunity for him to dry out a bit in preparation for another go at living in the hostel. We are still optimistic that he will be able to tackle life from his place near us, and we’re praying for him and planning for his release. Do continue to #prayforGone. God is working in his life, and in ours.

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Today I snapped a photo of an unexpected churchyard visitor. No idea how he got there, although flytipping is a popular local pastime. He rather looks like he’s been on the sauce, although I think it was milkshake in the bottle next to him. I’m not entirely sure what we shall do with him, as he’s too large to go in our wheelie bin. Still, makes a change from the beer cans.20150917_112508

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I had a fun week last week tweeting on behalf of the Church of England as @OurCofE. I managed to capture my tweets on Storify, so if you missed it, you can check it out over at Storify (I can’t upload it on here because WordPress block it). There are lots of pictures from the parish and tales of day to day life here. It was a great experience to try and share a little of our Vicarage life and what the Church of England looks like in action in the multicultural inner city. The @OurCofE project continues every week with a Christian from somewhere in the CofE tweeting. It makes for a fascinating insight into the wide variety of parishes and ministries within the church.

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On my way over to the church hall to prepare for the consumption of soup and flapjack at Lunch Club Lite today, I took a couple of pics in the churchyard. One of the church looking fantastic in the chilly morning sun. The other, alas, of a random bit of flytipping. Or perhaps there’s someone who likes to sit and then practice some balancing tricks between the East end of the church and the Vicarage garden.

Thankfully, Ministry Trainee King spent the morning clearing the grounds, so the chair is no longer cluttering the churchyard. Glad that he’s in charge over there – it’s enough for me to be decluttering the Vicarage (four items gone today, mostly kids’ things that are too small).

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Here’s a couple of photos I took last week – one with a sofa & an armchair out on the street (a la James Turner Street) and another as I went, rather surprisingly, for a run in our local park, where the bluebells were magnificently spread under trees as I plodded round on my Couch to 5K route.

People move house a lot round here, so we often see mattresses or other furniture out, as things are left in the hope of collection. Many don’t have cars to take stuff to the dump so it just sits there until – until I’m not sure what – they get a friend to take it away perhaps? Recently we’ve been wondering where some lovely kids who were regulars in church and in our Kids Club have got to. Sadly it looks like they moved after Easter some time. We didn’t get to say goodbye, which makes us sad. We’re praying they’ve ended up in a place where they’ll find a welcoming church to join.

Some of the things we see on our streets are reminders of the brokenness of our area – the poverty and the mobility which breaks community. But the bluebells helped me remember the Lord’s kindness and generosity. There was no need for him to make bluebells so shockingly beautiful. But he did, and they have been gladdening my heart since I saw them.

 

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It’s that time of year again! We’re looking for new ministry trainees – two of them in fact. Would you like to join us in the Vicarage after the summer? Our current intrepid attic dwellers are planning to move on before September (God willing) – so we will have space for gospel hearted volunteers who want to serve God’s people and reach out in our small part of the kingdom.

We can guarantee many opportunities to serve in all sorts of capacities – preaching, leading services, gardening, visiting, eating cake, tweaking the sound desk, street evangelism, geocaching with teenagers or hanging out with 80 year olds at lunch club, organising events and teaching the bible 121 for starters. You can live in a flat above our Vicarage and very likely meet Gone, our resident (when he’s not in prison) gentleman of the road. You can eat late night curry from the fabulous tandoori serving pubs up the road and play snooker with Nepali barmen and likely get to sample West African and Jamaican food with some of our church families. You will definitely get to know the Vicarage family well and discuss theology over coffee and ministry over wine and cheese. You’ll experience Vicarage life in all its ups and downs – the joys and sorrows of gospel ministry. You will get a day a week on the Midlands Ministry Training Course and regular supplies of homemade cake. We have an excellent relationship with Lichfield’s Diocesan Director of Ordinands, so if you are thinking of full time ministry in the Church of England, we can help you through that process, or you could just be wanting to do a year or two of Christian service before going on to other things.

The Vicar has posted more details on our church website. One of our current trainees was pointed in our direction by a reader of this blog. He’s off to his BAP for Church of England selection next month. Do you know someone who’d like to eat cake and serve alongside us?

The Vicarage looking pretty – come and join us!

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Gone has been staying in our chicken shed for a few weeks now. It’s dry and sheltered and he feels safe there. We haven’t seen him much because he can get in there through a side gate, so he’s mostly been coming in to sleep and then leaving without knocking on the kitchen window or the front door. He spends the day on the streets and visiting other helpful Vicarages.

It had been a few days and I mentioned to the Vicar that we’d not seen him for a bit, so the Vicar turned off the light in the shed, which ensures that Gone will come and talk to us to get the light put back on. That was last night, and then this morning we were told by a friend that Gone has gone. He’s gone back to prison. And that’s why we’ve not seen him. He’s not going to be away for long, but at least he’ll be dry and sheltered and fed for a few weeks.

GoneOnce again he will be inside for a short while and then released with money and a room in a hostel allocated to him. He’ll spend the money on Frosty Jack and buying a mobile phone and a radio or video camera, and he’ll come to our doorstep and tell us he’s not going to the hostel because he doesn’t trust people in hostels. And I expect he’ll ask to sleep in our shed again and we’ll go through the cycle of approaching various agencies and wondering what on earth can be done for him.

Sometimes I think this loop will continue for ever. He’s someone who cannot really cope with the system there is. Over the years many kindhearted people have helped him, but he’s never managed any long term stability.

So please pray for him, and for those of us who know him and want something better for him. We have a short break now and it would be good to think through some options for him. Pray that he’d work out what he should do himself, and pray we’d be wise too and have the energy to help again. Pray for Gone.

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