Church Link January 2016

Dear Friend,

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to our ‘new look’ Church Link – we will continue to provide you with information about Alabaré Christian Care and Support and the life changing projects we run, but, we are hoping to supplement this with pertinent articles and supportive materials that you can either use in personal prayer and reflection or within your church group, congregation or wider social group.

This is an evolving process and we would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions either as to how we can improve our communication with you, or, if you have any articles or themes that you would like to share with us and the Church Link community. This month we will be focusing on Alabaré's 25th anniversary as well as looking at Homeless Sunday and how our Christian Faith can help focus our mind on this issue and how we can help those in need. 

Do please get in touch either with me  or the Marketing Team at Alabaré if you have any thoughts or suggestions

With warm regards,

Keith Thomasson
Senior Chaplain

Alabaré Christian Care & Support

Celebrating 25 Years Of Transforming Lives 

2016 is a Jubilee year of celebration for all associated with Alabaré Christian Care and Support as we celebrate twenty five years of supporting the South West of England and Wales' most vulnerable, enabling them to live a fulfilled and independent life.  

The charity, founded by local husband and wife team, John and Alicia Proctor, has grown from humble roots, supporting one homeless man in their own Wilton home, to a charity with an annual turn over of nearly £7 million, over 250 dedicated staff and services that include a state of the art Homeless Drop In Centre in the heart of Salisbury, accommodation and support for young people and those leaving care, a development centre for people with Learning Difficulties in Barford and Old Sarum and specialist homes across the South West of England and Wales  for Veterans who struggle to adapt to life in the civilian world.

This year eighty eight Alabaré properties will be recommissioned; this will involve a blessing upon the work of each home, service or shop. It is my hope that in each context the event will be shaped by Service Users, clients, staff and supporters drawn from the local community.  The main anniversary celebrations will fall in March, follow us on Facebook and Twitter to find out about our anniversary activities and to learn how you can get involved. 

During the year a programme designed to encourage a deepening of spirituality, understood in the broadest sense, will be developed in every context. A resource box has been designed by the Spirituality Working Group. This contains resources for a lifetime conversation, creative reflection, meeting with the faith community, and the touchstone conversations for a spirituality group (around themes such as meaning and purpose in life, creativity,  faith, and community). These resources have been developed and piloted 'in-house' following  the Lost and Found Report on spirituality and faith amongst people who are homeless by Lemos and Crane. 

Other highlights this year include:

  • A series of events aimed at reigniting the Christian faith amongst our supporters and Service Users
  • Nurturing those adults with learning disabilities who belong to theAlabaré Emmaus Community.
  • Exploring our faith through the Alpha Course (for more information, email Keith Thomasson)
  • Exploring the practice of 'Centreing Prayer' at Riverside House
  • Building Covenant relationships with several churches, including St Thomas’ in Salisbury.

All of this will complement the regular pastoral and spiritual care offered by the Alabaré Christian Chaplaincy team throughout England and Wales. This is a growing ecumenical community of voluntary chaplaincy practitioners who work in our homes and services. Voluntary chaplains gather three times a year for resourcing and have opportunity for reflective conversations around practice with the Senior Chaplain, and Chaplaincy Leader for Wales.

If any of the above news sparks your interest, or if you would like to become involved please contact your local home/service or the Senior Chaplain, Keith Thomasson (07500 788148).

Homeless Sunday

Through prayer and reflection, Homeless Sunday offers an opportunity to use the resources of the faith tradition and to consider what God has to say about homelessness, and to consider what action we are being called to take.  Working with our Senior Chaplain and volunteer Chaplains we have devised a number of resources and practical exercises for you to undertake to help support those in need.  

Suggested Scriptural Readings

  • Matthew 22. 1-14 - The Wedding Banquet or The Great Dinner
  • Luke 10. 25-37 -  The Good Samaritan
  • Luke 16.19-31 - The Rich man and Lazarus

NB such passages could be approached alongside considering art works that explore the relevant passage.
Questions for reflection:

Set One

  • Where am I in this narrative?
  • Where would I like to be?
  • How might I change?

Set Two

  • Why was this written?
  • How does it impact living now?
  • What am I/are we going to do about it?

Practical Questions to shape Mission

  • Find our more about how you can support Alabaré as a charity
  • Pray regularly for the work of Alabaré
  • Invite a speaker/preacher from Alabaré
  • Become involved in supporting your local Alabaré home/service or shop
  • Volunteer
  • Make Alabaré your Church's charity of the yea

What can my Church do?

Idea One

  • Always extend a non-judgemental welcome
  • Develop links with Alabaré
  • Include Homeless Sunday as part of your calendar for 2016/2017, using the official date or another date
  • Invite a guest preacher/speaker from Alabaré - to do this, contact Keith Thomasson, Senior Chaplain at  Alabaré (07500 788148)
  • Encourage friends, family and colleagues to take part in Alabaré's Big Sleep to help raise funds and awareness around the issue of homelessness.

Idea Two

Create a ‘signposting’ laminated card that details local support. This may include:

  • Details of your local Government housing department
  • Local hostel contact details
  • Places that offer low cost/free hospitality
  • Details of church opening times/services

Study Materials

Read ‘Lost and Found’ from Lemos and Crane. Reflect how this might help you develop your response as a church in supporting those who are homeless develop their faith and spirituality. 

Prayer Themes

  1. The Church throughout the world - For those who walk with people who are homeless and dispossessed
  2. The Resources of the earth - For a redistribution of resources and sharing what we have
  3. For those in authority and our role in effecting change around climate and political decisions (especially in response to the migration issue and economic systems)
  4. Those who directly support people who are homeless - Alabaré Christian Care and Support (Service Users and clients, trustees, staff and volunteers)
  5. Those suffering due to their circumstances 
  6. For wisdom in growing as inclusive, worship communities that support all in need.