Here & now: Dan Simpson
Dan Simpson argues that churches can end homelessness
I’ve never encountered a church that wasn’t busy. We do a lot for the benefit of the wider community. Even during lockdown, it has been quite stunning to see how the Church has responded to needs in the community, including those who find themselves homeless or at risk of losing their home. Individually, a lot of us will notice someone sleeping rough in our local area and feel a pang of guilt if we feel unable to offer any lasting help. Do we sometimes identify more readily with the priest and the temple attendant in the parable of the Good Samaritan, as we pass by those in need on the other side of the road?
This is why I find the new Joint Public Issues Team programme, ‘What Will You Do to End Homelessness?’, incredibly uplifting. It includes short videos and other resources allowing you to hear firsthand from people who have experienced homelessness or have offered care to those who are homeless. You can share them on social media or use them as part of a sermon or prayers of intercession to highlight how it is possible to turn people’s lives around. On Twitter, you can follow #wydeh.
Listening to stories of people whose lives have been transformed has made me feel much more positive about how I could make a difference in the life of a homeless person – and how you and your church congregation could too. Living in London, I see rough sleepers all the time: they have almost become as much of a fixture of the urban landscape as the monuments, galleries and restaurants. It’s hard to imagine an end to homelessness, but it is possible to start by showing concern for just one person…
Dan Simpson is a member of United Reformed Church Youth and has just completed internships with the Joint Public Issues Team and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s housing commission. jointpublicissues.org.uk/endhomelessness
This is an extract from an article published in the September 2020 edition of Reform