'I'm an 87-year-old vicar - but when I acted homeless, I was suddenly invisible'

February 15, 2020

Last Thursday, I was begging on the doorstep of Church House, Westminster in the role of a homeless person for five hours from 9am to 2pm.

 

You are not taught to do that at college when preparing for ordination 50 years ago. Nor is it something I was expecting to do at the age of 87. But something has to be done.

 

I was begging on the last day of the February meeting of the General Synod, the governing body of the Church of England.

I was supporting from the street two excellent motions to be voted on that day. One was promoting a better friendship between church members and impoverished people in line with the priority given to it by Jesus.

 

The other was opposing the shredding of legal aid which is blocking access to justice for many. Both motions were passed unanimously.

 

I learnt a little of what it is like to be homeless on the streets.

 

Sitting in the cold for hours on end is boring and very uncomfortable.

 

I did not feel the cold until after I had finished the vigil. Then my body felt chilled until it warmed up in the early hours of the next morning. Charities, shelters and cold weather polices of local authorities simply do not meet the need for or the right to a home in all weathers.

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