Listening to God, serving people’s needs

Listening to God, serving people’s needs

03 February 2020 by Alison Tsang in Isolation, Debt and Financial Wellbeing, Mental Health.

The Community Cafe at St Pauls, Hounslow West has become a one-stop-shop for supporting local people. All through prayer, listening and compassion.

Six years ago, the people of St Paul’s Hounslow West, in West London, started noticing that people needed a space to meet and get to know each other.

They noticed that there were a lot of very different people around during the day. Many of these poeple said they were lonely or didn’t have any way of connecting with others in their community.

As a church who feel rooted into their community and committed to loving Jesus and showing that love to others, they decided to set up an informal community cafe, on a Wednesday morning.

It started small, founded on space to get to know people and build relationships. The team really listened - to God and to those coming along. The results of this have been transformative.

“We just want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, in a really practical sense.”

Ali, Volunteer Cafe Co-ordinator

As they have responded to need, they have grown what they do.

They now host a foodbank, and offer free debt advice in partnership with Christian advice charity Crosslight, along with partnering with the local council Mental Health team.

All of this happens informally, quietly, and through friendships at the cafe on a Wednesday. And by doing this, they catch people’s problems and issues early, before they get into crisis.

And they keep listening: they have noticed many coming struggle with conversational English, which can cause a lot of issues with accessing services, forming friendships and other day to day barrier to a full life. So they next plan to think about offering some sort of ESOL provision or conversational class.

Ali, the volunteer who oversees the cafe, and Wayne and Eddie, the volunteers from Crosslight who partner at the cafe to offer debt advice, tell the story of how this “one stop shop” community cafe has grown, and just what a transforming effect it has had on their community, in God’s name.

Alison Tsang

Alison Tsang

Alison heads up the Compassionate Communities for the Diocese of London, who exist to support & equip churches and chaplaincies across the Diocese to better serve their communities compassionately.

View all posts by Alison Tsang

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