Warming up the Homeless


The Church of the Holy Spirit in Rye Harbour has a service on the third Sunday of each month. Linda Estrada leads the gathering, and for the last year she has been introducing a theme to the services to encourage more people to come and be part of the community at the harbour church.

January has been so cold, wet, and miserable that it was decided to dedicate the service to warming up the homeless. The villagers and those in Rye were asked to donate warm clothing, especially waterproof coats, hats, scarves and gloves. Also requested was UHT milk and cans of food. The congregation did not disappoint. As people arrived, they dropped off their bags of donations and soon there was a wonderful display of things for the charity, Warming up the Homeless, in Bexhill. Their website informs us that their mission is “The relief of poverty among the street homeless / rough sleepers and homeless through the provision of items to support basic needs such as sleeping bags, ground sheets, survival sheets, blankets, clothing, food and toiletries. We also aim to improve the individual’s welfare through emotional support, even if it’s just a smile or by signposting them to other services. We endeavour to prevent harm to health by referring to emergency and similar services as and when necessary throughout Hastings, St Leonards, Eastbourne and Bexhill.”

There were readings from the Bible and hymns and voluntaries played by Martin Bruce. The poem below left much of the congregation with a great deal to think about.

A Shakespearean sonnet about doors

It’s not much to ask. Just a door to lock.
A door that won’t break when someone kicks it.
Door with a keyhole. Respond to that knock
Or not. My choice. It’s broke so let’s fix it:
The world, I mean. Not the door. That’s ok.
It’s my door, to my room. Look: here’s the key.
The world, though. That’s different. Somewhere to stay
Is what we all need. Somewhere to be me
And not just someone you blithely ignore
When you see me sleeping on the street.
Let’s begin with this. A door. Just a door
To start with. A door. Food. Then light and heat.
The world must respond to this simple truth:
Let’s all have a door. Let’s all have a roof.

Ian McMillan

We found ourselves asking the question, “Is it so much to wish for, a door?”

Image Credits: Martin Bruce .

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