Posts Tagged ‘society’

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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If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to be a bit more socially active, I’d like to suggest a couple of campaigns that I’ve recently started following and have signed up for:

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I was in Sainsbury’s earlier today, stocking up on Vicarage essentials (own-brand weetabix, apples, Cif spray, pinot grigio etc). As I was queuing to pay out the surprisingly vast quantity of money, I heard two check-out assistants asking elderly couples if they were collecting schools vouchers. The vouchers are collected by schools, scout and guide groups and kids’ sports clubs and can be used to buy sports, cooking, gardening and play equipment.

Neither couple wanted them. And I was a bit far away to shout out ‘No, no, keep them for me!’ It made me sad, though – these people didn’t know anyone they could give the vouchers to. They are part of a society where the old and the young don’t know one another.

This is one thing the church does well and I am grateful that we have church family where my children know folk in their 70s and 80s. Church is where older folk come and make cups of tea for mums at the toddler group and help out in the creche and where society’s trend towards isolation and individualism is rejected.

I shouldn’t have shouted out ‘Give me the vouchers’, I should have said ‘ Get yourselves to church’ instead.

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