6th - Night Shelter

For some people, the church can be a bit like a Tardis: it’s much bigger on the inside than it appears to be from the outside. We know our particular church building, squeezed between York Road and Mount Hermon Road in Woking, is a bit like that. It’s almost invisible from the road but, for those who step inside, there is a whole community which comes together, worships together, supports each other and serves our wider community.

In this series for Advent we want to open some windows so everyone can see a bit more of who we are and what goes on in a church like ours.

6thWe can all see the skyline of Woking changing, almost by the day, as new tower blocks emerge from the ground to provide more places for all of us to live. Less visible are the changes that occur in some peoples’ lives which means they lose their home and end up sleeping rough.

Almost in the shadow of these new tower blocks is York Road Project, at the end of the road where St. Mary of Bethany Church is located. The York Road Project provides night shelter for homeless people in Woking and The Prop, located around the corner on Goldsworth Road, provides additional support for those facing or currently experiencing homelessness.

At Christmas, Christians are particularly aware of the hassle given to a young mum and dad, Mary and Joseph, which meant they had to up sticks and leave their home at short notice for somewhere safer, even if just for a period of time (See Matthew 2:13). They ended up as refugees in Egypt. While we don’t know where they stayed or who gave them shelter it’s good to know that today, if someone ends up here, in Woking, there would be somewhere where they could go to start rebuilding their life.

You can follow York Road Project on twitter @YorkRoadProject and if you’d like to support them this Christmas you can make donations via the website www.yorkroadproject.org.uk. Items currently on their wish list are sleeping bags, men’s Jeans (particularly size 32/34 regular), men’s boxer shorts (all sizes), deodorant (men's and women's), men’s belts, peanut butter, marmite and cooking oil.