On the 7th of July we attended a thanksgiving service at Enfield Baptist Church for the Enfield and Haringey Night Shelter which was followed by a general meeting. Last winter churches in both boroughs offered their premises on a rota basis so that twelve homeless people (normally about eight men and four women) from each borough had a roof over their head, as well as an evening meal and breakfast during the winter. All the guests were referred to the umbrella organisation, All People All Places, as being suitable for a church-run shelter run by volunteers.
There were talks from various volunteers including from St Alphege’s, Edmonton and St Luke’s, Clay Hill, Enfield. Both said it was a joy to share God’s love in a practical way, as well as getting to know their fellow volunteers. Homeless people are referred from various statutory and voluntary bodies. Although neither church has a particularly large congregation, both found that it was easy to enlist volunteers, and that lots of food was donated. As there is already a well tried and tested structure for the way that the shelter is run, the individual shelters are never starting from scratch. Volunteers work in three shifts and then there is the preparation and clearing up afterwards. The overall impression one gained from the volunteers was that they were looking forward eagerly to being of service next winter, in which there will be a shelter specifically for Enfield, open over a three-month period from December to March. So volunteer churches and individuals are needed.
Josie & Malcolm Green, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St George’s Parish Enfield