When I was homeless…

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I have a confession to make. Most days as soon as I get home, I put on my pyjamas! It doesn’t matter what time it is, I put on my pyjamas. Recently, I decided I should put on a time limit the pyjama thing, and vowed that I would not put my pyjamas on until 9:00 – as that seemed like a decent pyjama time. I’ve got no idea who I was kidding – I still got changed as soon as I got in, I just put comfies on instead – jogging bottoms, a vest and a hoody – essentially, pyjamas! I’m not sure what it is about pyjamas, I think I just love the comfort of them. You know that you are safe in, you don’t have to go out again, you don’t have to put on a show for anyone. You’re home in your PJ’s – there is no better feeling!

Imagine if you didn’t have that home… Imagine if you didn’t have that comfort…

It is difficult to imagine… especially if you’ve never been there, or experienced anything like it. But for some people, that is the challenge every day. Trying to find somewhere that they can call home. We can walk through Canterbury in the evening and see people sleeping in the parks, in shop entrances, because they have nowhere to call home. A lot of the time, this is not their fault, but it is a situation that they have found themselves in.

An issue we hear about on the news a lot is the issue of immigration, migration, and refugees. They are used as the basis of political arguments; at the moment they are being used as a basis for whether people should vote to remain or leave the EU. People seem to forget that we are talking about Human Beings, not commodities. Our thought for the week this week, continues to look at Acts of Mercy, from the parable of the sheep and the goats, “When I was homeless, you made me welcome”

The thought for the week comes from Pope Francis who says:

Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity

This is exactly what I am talking about, they are Human Beings, and that is how they should be treated. There are two things that come to mind here:

Firstly, the word refugee, means that the person is seeking refuge, they are seeking safety. They have had to leave the place they call home because it is unsafe, that may be for many reasons. But they are still having to leave the place they know as home, the people they love. We hear stories of people squeezing on to boats, risking their lives, because it seems to be the only option available to them. Imagine, if risking your life and those you love, was better than staying in your home.

Secondly, there has been a story in the news recently about one of the Barracks in Canterbury being developed to house homeless families from London. There has been some upset over this as people say that the land should be developed for homeless families in Canterbury. I understand the argument, but these people are still homeless.

In both these situations the choice lies with higher authorities, not with the people themselves. There is not a huge amount that we can do, in order to stop these decisions being made in the first place. However, we can show love, compassion, mercy, to those who are made homeless. If you had to leave everyone and everything you knew, and move somewhere completely different, how would you want to be treated? Would you want to be welcomed or turned away?

How can we do this? We can raise money to help those who are directly helping refugees. We can welcome those who move to Canterbury, and make them feel at home. One of the things I love about The Archbishop’s School, is that it is so welcoming to anyone who comes in… the question is… do we do that outside of the school as well? Have a look at the challenges below.

We are so fortunate to have somewhere to call home, we go home to a roof over our heads, so many in this world don’t have that. Let us reach out an open arm to make everyone feel welcome, and to help them feel that this could be home.

Prayer: Father God, we thank you that you provide for us. We thank you that Archbishop’s school is a welcoming school. We pray that you may show us, how we can help those who are less fortunate than ourselves that they may feel welcome and at home. Amen

Challenge 1. This week is refugee week. Can you go without a luxury for a week? And donate the money to charity to support refugees? Take a look at this website http://www.allwecan.org.uk/current-appeals/lose-a-luxury-

Challenge 2. Think about the families that are moving from London to Canterbury. If that were you, what would find helpful in a welcome pack? I think I’d like some pyjamas!  Any ideas let Mrs Netherton know!

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