ONE of the things I notice about people who go to church is that they don’t usually ignore people who are in need.
There are many churchgoers who quietly, and without any fuss, get on with serving others.
They might visit a housebound person whose relatives don’t live nearby. They might even go and organise a jumble sale or coffee morning to raise money for a worthy charity in the local area.
None of these small actions will change the world by itself.
However, when you think of hundreds of thousands of people across the UK all doing the same kind of thing, you can see that it makes a huge difference to our society.
One of the things I’m pleased about in Fareham is the commitment of our churches to help homeless people who sleep rough in the town.
Each Sunday one of the churches will organise a meal for rough sleepers, which is served in the youth centre in Osborn Road from 1pm-3pm.
The eight churches who are part of Christians Together in Fareham will each take a turn, so it was our turn last Sunday.
A team of volunteers from our congregation prepared the two-course meal and served it to those who came.
Last Sunday we also gave away a bags of snacks for them to take away.
The number of rough sleepers who come varies, but last week we served food to 15 people. And our volunteers also chat to them as they eat – for many of them, just being seen as an individual rather than a homelessness statistic is important.
This has been going on every week for five years now. The guests are always incredibly appreciative of whatever we choose to serve them, and all the helpers see it as a real privilege to be doing something for them.
Of course, those of other faiths and no faith often do fantastic work to serve their local communities too, and we are glad to share in this community spirit with them.
However, it feels right that immediately after worshipping God together in church on Sunday morning, members of our congregation go straight into serving the most needy people in our town.
It is their Christian faith that inspires them to love others in practical ways.
If you would like to find out more about the work St Peter and St Paul’s Church does to help out the homeless – or if you would like to pitch in – you can call us on 01329 236003.