Sunday 1 December 2013
It’s Advent already and Christmas will soon be upon us. I wonder what part of Christmas really matters to you. For a lot of us, Christmas means warmth, trust, family, friends, fun, food; presents, parties, and joy and hope in the face of a child. That’s what matters.
I want you to think about what matters to Stuart. Stuart isn’t looking forward to Christmas. He’s lost his job and is too ashamed to tell his family where he is. He’ll spend tonight on the streets sleeping rough. He doesn’t have any of the things that for most people really matter.
And then there’s Bill. Bill in Sheffield is dreading Christmas. He’s about to be evicted and he fears he’ll have nowhere to go.
St Martin’s believes Stuart and Bill matter. For the last 87 years we’ve shaped our life around people in crisis like them. We believe what matters is that this Christmas Stuart, through the centre for homeless people known as The Connection at St Martin’s, can find companionship, training, medical help, a listening ear, and housing. And that Bill, through the Vicar’s Relief Fund, which works in every part of the United Kingdom, can get an emergency grant in 24 hours to prevent him being evicted. He can then pay off his rent arrears in instalments.
A friend of mine made a discovery recently. He discovered his mother had been giving to the St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal for the last 20 years. He said to her, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘St Martin’s cares about what matters.’
St Martin’s believes what matters in addressing homelessness is being close enough to people to know them by their first name, being nimble enough to offer practical help straightaway, being careful enough to ensure every possible penny goes to the right place, and being faithful enough to walk with people through the most vulnerable moments in their lives.
What matters to you at Christmas? I bet you care about people like Stuart and Bill – but maybe you don’t know in all honesty how best to help them. Well there is something you can do. Give – and give generously – to the Radio 4 St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal.
You can make your gift right now by calling 0800 082 82 84, online on our website, or you can send a cheque made payabale to The St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal, and post it to:
St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ.
Thank you. Your support really matters.
Revd Dr Sam Wells
Vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields
Listen to Sam give the Appeal on BBC Radio 4 >>
Donate online now >>