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Bringing the Community Together

by glynch — last modified 13 Mar, 2017 05:18 PM

Bishop Karen holds breakfast networking event in Poole

Bringing the Community Together

Bishop Karen with Routes2Roots staff and supporters

Bishop Karen hosted the first of a planned regular series of networking breakfasts in Poole last week, which brought civic and community leaders from the Dorset town together with Christian leaders from a variety of denominations. 

The event, which took place at the Thistle Hotel on Poole Quay, had a particular focus on helping people work together to help the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in society. 

Bishop Karen said, “One of the great things about being a bishop in the C of E is being in a position to bring people together as a leader in the community while being above the fray in terms of things like budgets and party politics. 

“The event included a presentation about Routes2Roots, a church supported project based on Christian values which provides services for people living on the streets, and people rebuild their lives after a period of homelessness. R2R aims to value people regardless of their situation, and help people, whose lives have often been very chaotic, to achieve a degree of stability. 

“So many people in Dorset work tirelessly to serve their neighbours, and this is something that Christians hold in common with people of other faiths and people of no faith. Serving our neighbours can be a holy, sacramental, experience. We learned from Roots2Routes about the importance of the foot-washing service they provide to homeless people, not just for people’s physical health but their sense of being a person who is loveable and of value. 

“Churches are integral to the fabric of our society. They and the groups they support are often the last lifeline for people in need.” 

Colin Brady, Social Justice Programme Manager for the Diocese, said, “What the Bishop set out to do was to provide a space for leaders in the Poole area to engage about the issues that really matter without any set agenda. 

“We were particularly privileged to meet Steve, who spent some years living in his car before, with the help of Routes2Roots, moving into a flat on his own and rebuilding his life. 

“At the end of last week, I also attended a packed public meeting in Dorchester organised by the Verne Visitors Group about the situation faced by people in our immigration detention centres, often awaiting deportation. It was great to see several hundred people out on a Friday night, especially when they might have chosen to watch international rugby on TV. 

“Don’t believe the hype about people being selfish. There is a huge passion for helping others in our communities.”

See video of how people in our communities are serving others: Routes to Roots here; Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees here

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