Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Constructive encounters

At tea-time I joined a support group meeting with Ruth, the manager of the Churches Together Bookshop in City URC to find out how things are going since the shop re-opened back in July.

The shop's stock of books has increased, and the place looks as if it's getting some tlc. Ruth and Terry have been enterprising in response of a series of opportunities generated by the start of the Autumn Term, and the response to their efforts has been encouraging. We heard that they would welcome support from more volunteers - particularly to cover Saturdays, holiday and sick leave, and those occasions when the staff need to be out at special events selling books. Food for thought here. I wonder if any of our people would be interested?

After this meeting another, also at City Church, bringing together thirty volunteers from several networks of people involved in soup runs and street caring activities, together with five Council officials concerned with homelesness and housing. They were following through the initiative made by them six weeks ago, when there had been half a dozen volunteers, four staff and me. On this occasion, I had the task of welcoming everyone explaining the purpose of the event - to consider how together we could raise the standard of care to people on the streets. The rest was then facilitated superbly by Paul Hocking, Pastor of Thornhill Community Church. A meeting that began with a slight air of uncertainty unfolded with great warmth, enthusiasm and a good degree of frankness about some problem areas. We finished in decent time and set another date to meet and develop a programme of empowerment, but many people lingered and chatted in a relaxed way for ages afterwards. I felt very pleased to be able to play a small part in making something like this happen. It's been needed for some years.

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