Homeless weekend set for Norwich Cathedral
A weekend of activities focused around homelessness is set for Feb 7 - 9 to equip people to understand how they can help.
A cold stone floor in Norwich Cathedral's Cloisters will be the makeshift bed for fundraisers taking part in a unique sleepout on Friday February 7.
Called A Night In The Cloisters, the event is challenging people aged 18 and over to spend the night in the centuries-old surrounds, from 9pm to 7.30am, and raise as much money as they can for Norwich-based homelessness charity St Martins.
During the night somebody with lived experience of sleeping rough will also talk to the fundraisers about what it really feels like to be homeless and how they were supported to get their life back on track. There will be a chance to hear about how the Pathways service works in Norwich helping people sleeping on the streets to access accommodation and support and to rebuild their lives.
Organiser Rev Canon Andrew Bryant, Canon for Mission and Pastoral Care, said: "It cannot be considered any great hardship to go to sleep amidst the wonderful architecture of the Cloisters; uncomfortable and cold perhaps, but safe and dry and for one night only.
“There is nothing virtuous about being part of a sleepout. The purpose is to raise funds for an excellent local charity who supports homeless people every day of the year. We hope the event will raise awareness about the issue of homelessness and inform people about what we can all do to help.”
Click here to visit the JustGiving page for A Night in the Cloisters
On Saturday February 8, there will be a day of activities in the Cathedral from 10am until 3pm. Real life stories of homelessness will be told through a ‘living library’, whereby visitors to the Cathedral can spend time with people who have been homeless and find out first-hand about their experience. There will also be an opportunity to meet the different agencies working across the city to address homelessness, and find out how best the public can help. Among the organisations attending will be St Martins, The Feed, The Living Room Great Yarmouth, Emmaus, Pathways, Samaritans, The Benjamin Foundation, Soul Church, Norwich Street Aid and King’s Lynn Winter Night Shelter.
At 2pm, local author Robert Ashton will talk about his latest book, Any Spare Change?, which documents his quest to understand the issue of homelessness and how the public can help.
St Martins’ The Knitted House will also be returning to the Cathedral from February 6 to 24, after making a big impact when it was first built in the Cathedral last October to coincide with World Homelessness Day. A visual representation of homelessness, The Knitted House consists of 4,677 scarves, with each scarf representing a person who slept on the streets in the UK last year. One in eight of the scarves are black, indicating the number of people who died on the streets.
As part of the day of activities on Saturday February 8, there will be a special act of worship around The Knitted House at 3.30pm.
On Sunday February 9, Dr Jan Sheldon, CEO of St Martins, will give the address at Norwich Cathedral’s 10.30am Sung Eucharist which will be followed by a community lunch.
New booklet on Homelessness
In response to current crises in our world which can easily make us feel overwhelmed and helpless, the Diocese of Norwich is producing a new series of booklets for 2020 which look through the lens of Christian faith at huge and urgent matters such as the climate and refugee emergencies, plastic and modern slavery.
These FREE booklets will offer biblical and theological connections, inspiring stories of those already taking action in our region and signposts for your own response. There’ll be paintings, poetry and prayers too, to enrich thought and stir imagination. The hope is that individuals and groups of all sorts will find them challenging and inspiring.
The first in the series is hot off the press! It explores contemporary issues around housing and homelessness and will therefore be available over this coming Homelessness Weekend (7-9 Feb) in Norwich Cathedral. From then on, this first booklet in the series will be available from Diocesan House (109 Dereham Road, Easton, Norwich NR9 5ES; 01603 880853; firstname.lastname@example.org )
For more information about the event email the Rev Canon Andrew Bryant email@example.com
Photo copyright Paul Hurst