Tuesday, December 01, 2009

First of the season

This evening St John's welcomed 250 people for the Kidney Wales annual carol service. Three choirs took part, accounting for more than 70 people present, plus a fine young Welsh tenor soloist, Alun Rhys Jenkins. Marvellous uplifting music for the most part, although I felt for the children's choir that sang 'I orwedd mewn preseb' (Away in a manger), in a key that was too low, so their little voices disappeared as they struggled to find their bottom notes. Oh dear.

After the event a young Asian man came into church asking to speak to the Vicar. He was homeless living in a hostel, following the break up of his marriage, feeling utterly demoralised, having no contact with his children. His wife and children had deserted him. There had been no legal separation, no visiting rights agreed. A solicitor had been appointed for him, and from what he told me, his solicitor's approach had been less than sensitive - telling him, a homeless unemployed man in a state of desperation, that he should get a job and somewhere to live before his application to see his children would be taken seriously, is outrageous. On the spot there was little I could do apart from promise to talk to the city centre outreach people, whom we both know, in the morning, and give him a spare pack of mince pies to tide him over until the morning.

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