Archbishop Pays Visit to The Deptford Churches Centre and 999 Club Homeless Centres
Thursday 24th April 2008The Archbishop of Canterbury is Patron to both homeless charities in Deptford and visited them to meet staff, supporters and the homeless.
The Deptford Churches Centre (formerly The Deptford Churches Crypt Club) was founded in 1979 and is a day centre for adults over 16 who are vulnerable through homelessness, mental ill health, loneliness and poverty.
The Archbishop toured the facilities on offer, such as the laundry service, careers advice, music and art class and the gardening club, where they grow their own organic vegetables. As the Archbishop sat down to eat lunch and meet with people to discuss their stories, many grasped at the opportunity to show him poems and letters, and to have their picture taken with him.
Click link on the right to listen to his words of reflection on his visit. A transcript follows:
Fr Paul Butler
The Archbishop will just give us perhaps a couple of sentences and then I'll ask him if he might give his blessing before he moves on to his next appointment, thank you.
Thanks very much Father. Well first of all, can I firstly say thank you for welcoming me here, it's been a terrific opportunity for me to come and say hello to everyone. One of the things, just listening to people as I go around is being very clear that nobody solves their problems on their own, wherever they are in society. We need each other very, very badly wherever we sit, whatever we're doing. And a place like this, which not only helps each person to confront their own difficulties but helps them to meet other people's difficulties and be good news for them as well - that's a place that's really doing its job in my book.
So having seen a bit of that today, it looks as if you're doing your job, and that's really good news for me to hear as I come, so thank you for that. It's been a real inspiration, a real joy to be with you and a very good lunch as well, I might come back for that! So let me just say, as Father Paul suggested, a word of blessing before I go, and thank you again for having me. So let's be quiet for a second:
God Almighty who welcomes all your people home,
God Almighty who gives to every one of your children a chance in a new beginning,
God Almighty who takes seriously each one of those he's made and loved, be with you, welcome you, protect you and strengthen you, in all the work that's done in this place.
In Jesus' precious name, Amen.
The Archbishop went on to the 999 Club nearby, which supports people in the same situations as the Deptford Churches Centre. Established since 1992, they provide clothes, sleeping bags, access to medical care and even a creche, where the Archbishop became reaquainted with a toddler he met a couple of years before. They even have a spacious hall, titled The Lady Florence Hall, which is used for dance, church groups, yoga and seminars to name a few.
The Archbishop talked with visitors, who were enjoying lunch, tv, games and reading.
The Archbishop had this to say about the 999 Club:
The visit to the 999 Club was memeorable, and I have been talking about it to so many people since. It seemed to me such a model of good practice.