Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis: Thinking about “Warm Spaces”

Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis: Thinking about “Warm Spaces”

08 September 2022 by Rev David Ackerman in Food Poverty, Debt and Financial Wellbeing.

As we approach the autumn and winter of 2022, churches are considering what they can do to respond to the very great need in our communities with the ‘Cost of Living Crisis.’

In our latest blog, Fr David Ackerman reflects on how St Johns Kensal Green can serve and bless this winter, including considering whether they could be a “warm space” for the community.

Church buildings are a blessing and a resource to the communities they serve.

So what are we doing with ours?

In 2020 St John’s Church, Kensal Green received a grant from the GLA to explore renewable energy and next year a roof survey is budgeted for.

A part of the process has been the discovery of much of our heating escapes through the church ceiling, which is uninsulated. The plan - or dream - is a a roof with solar tiles and new, insulated ceiling, perhaps in oak to replace the war time panels.

Whilst we dream about that, a practical use of our heated church in the winter is to extend what we do everyday: welcome people into a “warm space”.

As the church is open everyday for prayer, or for our Monday evening junior choir, Tuesday play group and evening Community Choir rehearsal, as well as of course for services, how might we also welcome people who simply want to be warm?

We know well enough that an open church is something that needs managing, and any idea needs discussion.

The best ideas are raised openly and with the possibility of the church becoming a “heating hub” I put the suggestion to our Nextdoor community, local councillors and residents’ association.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, not so much how the idea might work but in what ways can we make this work, from coffee mornings, use of our WIFi, to linking the possibility with our hosting a monthly community nurse and looking at the church as a place where people might come for “signposting”.

St Johns Kensal Green 5

This idea is rooted in our faith, and flows from the heart of what we do.

It is a prayerful response to the needs around us.

It is a lived out expression of our Lord’s words: “come unto me all who are overburdened, and I will give you rest.

We simply need to work out the details!

Warm Welcome is a new initiative from a coalition of charities and churches across the UK.

Warm Welcome “is determined to equip and support thousands of free, warm, and welcoming spaces in communities across the UK. Working with churches and other faith groups, civil society organisations, businesses and Local Authorities, we want to make sure that nobody is left to suffer on their own this winter.”

Churches can pledge their support to being a place of Warm Welcome HERE

There are discussions ongoing about helping churches with energy costs, and we will share more information about any support that is available for churches who are wanting to be ‘Warm Spaces’ when we have it.

We hope you find this series of blogs related to tackling the Cost of Living Crisis helpful. If you, or anyone you know, is doing something innovative to support people in your community through this time, please let us know - we would love to share it!

You may also find some of our other resources on this topic useful - please click HERE to access reports, articles, our Money Help Toolkit, links to charities working in this area, and more.

Rev David Ackerman

David Ackerman

The Revd David Ackerman has been vicar of St John the Evangelist, Kensal Green since 2013, serving the parish and community. He studied theology at Westminster College, Oxford, gained a teaching certificate from Brighton University & a Master’s degree in Canon Law.

View all posts by Rev David Ackerman

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