Slice of life

TODAY'S culture needs an accessible church. People move around. Their lifestyles are fluid. They have often left their roots behind. They want things now. And here. So 'church' needs to be flexible. Visible. Easy to find. Easy to touch and make demands of. Just like the mobile Jesus, in His days on earth He took Himself to people – all sorts of people, meeting their needs in the places where He found them.

These are some of the stories of the people followers of Jesus help today (names have been changed).

Donna
started drinking at an early age and had developed a bad drinking problem, using alcohol to block out her bad memories. She first visited the Jesus Centre for advice and help to find accommodation and is now enrolled in two life skills courses. The centre has changed Donna's life and made her a stronger person; her friends there have given her the courage to start again.

Ian
was homeless, living rough and selling the Big Issue. He has visited the Jesus Centre for a long time. Sometimes he has fallen out with people there, but overall the friendship has survived. Volunteers took him to hospital when he was ill, visited him and picked him up on release and helped him get further medical help. Then they managed to get him into rented accommodation and have supported his tenancy, liasing with Housing Benefit and the landlord. Ian says we have helped him a lot.

Ali
came to the drop-in as an asylum seeker with no support, roofless and addicted to drugs. He got his basic needs met here and called it 'home'. He stayed with a friend that he met there and got himself off drugs. He came to church and became a Christian; he was dramatically healed of serious stomach problems. We got him into his own accommodation. He has become a trained valuable volunteer, working in the kitchen. Recently he also obtained an accreditation for literacy at the class which he has attended at the Jesus Centre for many months. His comment: "I am very happy."

Catherine
an older lady living alone, came to the Jesus Centre and then became a regular attender of our church services. She said she was very happy to have 'found a family'.

Patrick
had been coming round a long time. He had a recently broken relationship but found stability with us and eventually got a flat and various jobs and training courses. Two years on he is still around.

We had known
Jenny and Martin
for a few years. They joined the literacy class run by one of our volunteers and recently the wife asked to be baptised in water.

Glen
a new volunteer, trained in catering before spending years in mental institutions. He helped in the kitchen making the breakfasts for the drop-in. He went on from there to a part-time job in manufacturing before returning to the Jesus Centre to employment as one of the catering staff.

Harriet
has been homeless for years with a drink problem. Her son has also been homeless in the city with addiction and mental health problems. He is currently in prison. She is easy-going and loves joining in with church services.

Baz
was our very first visitor when we opened. He came every day for several weeks and we helped him contact housing associations and fill in forms. He was able to receive mail at the Centre's address and use the phone, and we supported him through the trying delays until he got a place. We did not see him again after that, so we did ourselves out of a Job.

Betty
came to the Bridge drop-in with nowhere to stay having come from USA and Jamaica where she originated from. We were able to get her a place to stay with members of the Jesus Fellowship and let her use the phone a lot. She soon found work and her own place and then came in to clean for us in return.

Ali
is Indian. He was living rough and in empty houses, mostly with a friend who also came to us. A gentle guy, we watched him go in and out of hospital with an inflamed pancreas and urged him to stop drinking spirits. He would leave clothes here for safe keeping, do laundry, use the shower and get clothes. He would help us with errands and bring other friends in. Recently he got work, cut back on his drinking and found more stable accommodation. Progress!

Billy
was cheery and likeable. He would bring young friends along, use the PC, generally joke about. He came on our outing and was keen to help us out too. He got some work. We kitted him out with two suits and sent him with a letter to the Salvation Army who gave him good shoes as well. He came along to church and got support in working through his outstanding court case. He did get sent down but we are keeping in touch.

George
was on regular injections for mental health problems and using heroin and he could become a bit difficult at times. He was banned early on for a short period of time but afterwards we got on well. We have been able to support him by encouraging him to get his jabs, eat properly and look after himself. He does washing here and gets fresh clothes from our store. We have become part of his support Network.

Bill
is 62 years old. Brought up in children's homes and then moving from one building site to another whilst working, he has never had a home in his life. Together with CAN we are encouraging and supporting him to leave the streets and take on his very first home.

Bev
had been for counselling and felt very insecure. She came into the Jesus Centre asking for prayer. Afterwards she felt a lot better.

Jane
a single mum and a volunteer at the Jesus Centre, has come off benefits and gone back to work having built up her confidence through working a shift with us and taking advantage of the CLAIT Course.

Alex, Craig, Dave and Ricky
are all homeless. They come to the Jesus Centre regularly. At first they were withdrawn, but bit by bit they have opened up and become chatty and friendly. They consider the Centre as their drop-in.

Becky
had just been discharged from a psychiatric unit. Her grandparents were arriving from Holland in two days time to take her home with them. Because she wasn't looking for permanent accommodation the other agencies couldn't help her. We were able to offer her two nights board and lodging, free of charge in one of the Jesus Fellowship's community houses.

Published 21st September 2008 with tags: friendship services

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