In our day to day life we are keenly aware of the damage we are causing to our planet by climate change. As Christians, we should be asking how issues relating to the topics of climate change and climate justice link to our faith. Churches in the deanery are responding in many different ways.
The Climate Sunday initiative is calling on all local churches across the UK to hold a climate-focused service on any Sunday before COP26 (November 2021).
During their local Climate Sunday, churches are invited to do one or more of three things: Worship: Hold a climate-focused service, to explore the theological and scientific basis of creation care and action on climate, to pray, and to commit to action. Commit: Make a commitment as a local church community to taking long term action to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions. Speak up: Use your voice to tell politicians that you want a cleaner, greener, fairer future at the heart of plans to rebuild a strong economy. The culmination of the campaign will be a national Climate Sunday event on Sunday 5th September 2021, to share church commitments and pray for bold action and courageous leadership at COP26.
St Richard’s, Ham, and and Holy Trinity, Richmond have both held Climate Sunday services. St Anne’s, Kew and St Mary’s, Barnes are planning to hold services.
Creationtide or the Season of Creation is the period in the annual church calendar, from 1st September to 4th October, dedicated to God as Creator and Sustainer of all life. Christ Church, East Sheen are observing this season in September with special Eucharistic and All-Age liturgies and an alternative cycle of readings around the theme of eco-justice.
Eco-Church is an initiative from the charity A Rocha, which helps churches become green and sustainable. A Rocha’s vision is for churches of all denominations to care for creation as an integral part of loving their neighbours and following God faithfully. This scheme provides a framework for churches to consider what actions they can take in five areas:
worship and teaching
our community and global engagement
Lots of churches in the deanery are working towards their Bronze award or, having already achieved Bronze, are working towards their Silver award.
Three useful webinars, hosted by the Church of England Environment programme, are coming up, and open to all: An introduction and overview of eco church – getting started – Tuesday 22 June, 1:00–2:00 p.m. BOOK HERE Working towards an award and gaining momentum – Tuesday 29 June, 1:00–2:00 p.m. BOOK HERE Working towards net zero carbon with Eco Church – Tuesday 6 July, 1:00–2:00 p.m. BOOK HERE
This is an initiative from the Young Christian Climate Network, and is a walking/cycle relay from Truro to Glasgow. Click here for further details. The relay passed through London in early August and walkers from Churchs Together in Barnes joined in the relay, walking from Richmond to St Paul’s Church, Clapham via Wimbledon (see below).
Amongst them were Julie Smith (Youth Worker at St Mary, Barnes) and her daughter Imogen. You can read a report of their experiences by clicking on the images below.
COP26 Vigil and Pilgrimage – 23rd October
South Bank Churches invites people of all faiths for a time of prayer for the success of COP26, the international conference on climate change in Glasgow.
You’re encouraged to make a pilgrimage on foot, by bike, by public transport, however you wish, from your place of worship – perhaps in a group – to Southwark Cathedral, arriving between 2 – 3pm. Bring a Letter for Creation to pass on to the faith leaders involved in COP.
There will be interactive prayer stations from 2pm. At 3.20 everyone will come together for a time of prayer and reflection with singer Samantha Lindo and St Leonard’s Eco Church Community, ending with a blessing by the Bishop of Kingston.
St Mary’s, Barnes, is hoping to take part in the pilgrimage.
Prayer from St Anne’s, Kew
Loving Creator God, we give You thanks for the wonders of Your Creation. We ask for grace to see, as You do, the beauty and the suffering of our Planet Earth, and the grace to examine how our life choices impact on creation and on our fellow human beings throughout the world. Help us to recognise the urgency with which we need to act in relation to climate change. We pray in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Reflection from Christ Church, East Sheen
What is a green ‘tau’? Tau τ is the Greek letter similar to the English T. Tau itself developed from the Phoenician letter Tāw X (from which the Hebrew letter Tav ת is also derived). In ancient times, tau was used as a symbol meaning eternal life or resurrection. In Hebrew tav means mark and this was the sign marked on the foreheads of those who lamented their sins (Ezekiel 9:4). For early Christians tau became an apt symbol of the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
Francis of Assisi used the tau as his mark when signing his letters and other writings. The tau cross, often made of wood, is worn by many Franciscans across the world. Francis is widely known as the saint who spoke with the birds, and to the hungry wolf in Gubio – he worked out a deal between the wolf and the people of Gubio such that they could live together in harmony. Francis was the author of the canticle ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ – probably the first piece of literature written in Italian. Francis understood that everything in creation had been made by God and was deserving of equal love and respect and should be treated as brother or sister. In 1979 Pope John Paul II declared St Francis as the patron saint of ecologists, reflecting not only Francis’s love for all creatures, but also his intuitive understanding of the interconnectedness of the whole of creation. I therefore chose a green tau to represent my desire to live sustainably, protecting the earth.
St Anne’s, Kew, write: The 500-year old Ignatian Examen is a daily prayer of review – a short reflection back over the day, recalling events and taking note of your feelings. The purpose is to discern the ways in which God has been present to you, the times when the Holy Spirit was drawing you towards life. The Jesuits have now developed a special ‘ecological examen’ to help individuals and communities undergo a conversion of heart to embrace ecological justice.
St Mary’s Barnes Youth Group supports the Annual Glass Door Sleepout – October 2021
St Mary’s, Barnes Youth Worker, Julie Smith, writes:
The annual Glassdoor Sleepout took place on Friday, 1st October with a reduced number of campers at the main Duke of York Square site following covid, which gave the opportunity for volunteers to set up satellite camps such as the little gathering of teens at the church. We started the evening with a candlelit compline in the Langton Chapel led by Revd James, with a reading from Charlie. It was a contemplative and calming atmosphere which was much appreciated by us all as we considered the evening ahead. Thank you to Wendy for her help with organising the practicalities for it. Having moved outside we settled down by our tent. It was certainly quite surreal to be sitting on cardboard outside the church while lots of people were walking the red carpet into the neighbouring Olympic Cinema for the premiere weekend of the new Bond film.
Being out in the cold and the dark while people went about their lives gave us a chance to think about what it truly means to be homeless. For most of us the ending of nearly all the pandemic restrictions has been a joyous time allowing us to reunite with family and friends, take holidays and return to work. In short, we are experiencing some normality for the first time in 18months. Sadly, for some, however, it brings the increased potential for homelessness as specific support packages are coming to an end. It could be a young person who has recently left the care system, terrified and alone. It could be a woman fleeing an abusive partner, physically bruised and mentally shattered. It could be someone who lost their job in the pandemic and can no longer afford the rent, humiliated and defeated. It could be a refugee recently arrived in the UK who is struggling to navigate the complex welfare system, confused and homesick. The homeless have many faces and the truth is that many of the people who end up on the streets are not that different from ourselves.
In just a couple of hours we could begin to comprehend the physical discomforts of rough sleeping, however, we were only a few steps away from running water, flushing toilets, electric lights, and an endless supply of hot chocolate, so we were never going to experience the true vulnerabilities of the homeless. After a night spent partly outside, and in the early hours of the morning, on the hard floors inside the church where we had a roof over our heads, we do feel a greater compassion for the vulnerability of rough sleepers. Rough sleeping is a dangerous and isolating experience. People sleeping rough are more likely to be victims of crime and violence. Women are particularly vulnerable with nearly 1 in 4 having been sexually assaulted while on the streets. Additionally, many rough sleepers develop addictions with drugs or alcohol, or mental health issues. In 2019, the average age for a rough sleeper at death was just 44 years for men and 42 years for women.
Glassdoor are an amazing charity and the organisation makes a huge difference to the homeless providing them with practical support and hope. It was a privilege for us in BYG to show our support. Several people passing by on Friday night stopped to talk to us and we hope that we have helped to spread awareness and raised some funds.
Glass Door Update from the Richmond Team Ministry – October 2021
On Monday 4th October there was a Zoom meeting with volunteer co-ordinators where GlassDoor chief executive Lucy Horitz told us that the start of the season in Richmond is going to be delayed. We were very cheered last summer when government principles were published allowing for rotating night shelters to take place this winter, where there is need in a local area. Despite this and despite stringent planned safety measures, local public health teams have not been supportive of night shelters reopening in their boroughs. GlassDoor trustees have been weighing up the health, reputational and legal risks of opening and will make a final decision on Monday 11 October. In all likelihood, GlassDoor will need to start the shelters on a staggered basis, with Kensington & Chelsea and Wandsworth opening in November and others hopefully opening after Christmas. To meet guest need it is important that there is one circuit operating north of the river and one south, with Wandsworth being more suitable over Richmond as many guests travel from Lambeth. This staggered start will provide an opportunity to evaluate data on demand for the shelters, as well as their success and safety.
This is, of course, hugely disappointing for everyone here in Richmond, but it is not something that we can change. For GlassDoor these are hugely important decisions and much is at stake. Volunteers and churches might want to write to their local MP/the media etc, but GlassDoor asks us not to do that right now. At present they’re working hard to manage the relationships with local authorities and although grateful for the offer, they urge people to hold off from doing so at present.
Regardless of what happens with church night shelters, GlassDoor will continue with their 55-bed hostel at Paddington from mid-November to early May, as well as the casework support they put in place to help people into stable employment and accommodation. And the Vineyard Centre will be up and running with daytime support, as well as other local initiatives.
Glass Door Pandemic Update from Richmond Team Ministry – September 2021
MP Sarah Olney Meets with Glassdoor Volunteers – 25th June 2021
Richmond Park and North Kingston MP Sarah Olney visited St John the Divine, Richmond to meet local Glass Door Homeless Charity coordinators and volunteers and to learn more about the 3 churches of Richmond Team Ministry’s support for homeless people.
Thank You from Glass Door – 4 May 2021
It’s been a challenging year for so many of us, but Glass Door has been blessed to continue receiving the generous support of the church communities in the deanery throughout this difficult time. Together, we are making life better for the many individuals we call our guests.
Glass Door Update – 17 March 2021
In the last 4 months, over 6,750 meals have been served at our community dinner service, run in partnership with local churches. These meals have been served by our lovely volunteers. Thanks to all who have kept this service running during the pandemic!
But it’s not just a case of feeding the hungry. In the last nine months, Glass Door have offered advice and support to over 1,113 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Click here to read some of the stories.
Glass Door Meal Service at the Vineyard – 19 February 2021
Glass Door Meal Service Starts – 9 November 2020
Homeless charity Glass Door usually operates a circuit of homeless night shelters in Richmond & Twickenham, including at St John the Divine and St Matthias, Richmond and Christ Church and All Saints, East Sheen. Due to COVID-19 the communal shelters cannot be operated this year so instead, to offer some form of support and respite, a 7-night a week hot food service will operate from the Vineyard Richmond from Monday 9 November until April. Guests will be able to access a hot meal, somewhere to warm up for a few hours and practical support from the Glass Door case workers.
As the night shelter network stopped back in March, we now need help in spreading the word to those who could benefit from the service. If you see someone regularly sleeping rough in your neighbourhood we’d really appreciate it if you could print and share this leaflet to let them know the service is available. Glass Door is an amazing charity and alongside the emergency services like the food services they have a fantastic record of helping people into long term accommodation.
Click here to read more about Glass Door’s plans for the winter 20/21.
Rev James Hutchings is Sleeping Out in October
Rev James writes: “Glass Door do brilliant work, I’m so blessed to have a roof over my head, and I’d like others to have the same chance. So, on 2 October 2020, I will be joining Glass Door Homeless Charity’s Sleep Out to bring shelter and support to men and women affected by homelessness.
I’m raising money for Glass Door because I know they are doing good work to support and shelter those in our community who are at an absolute crisis point. Glass Door welcomes everyone as their guest, giving them some stability before helping them make the necessary steps and move off the streets for good.
While running winter night shelter in a shared space may not be possible, Glass Door is committed to finding ways to ensure that individuals in need can find safe shelter, a hot meal and a warm welcome.”
It’s not too late to take part yourself, either sleeping out at Duke of York Square (still allowed with covid regulations) or in your own garden with a virtual livestream to join in with.
Rev James Hutchings from St Mary’s, Barnes spent the night of 2nd October sleeping on the rectory floor instead of the usual gathering in for the Glassdoor annual sleepout in Duke of York Square. He hoped that even that mild discomfort would sharpen his awareness of of what it must be like to be homeless in London on a night of terrible rain and what it must be to not have a secure place to live.
From Rev Anne Nickson, Richmond Team Ministry – 18th May:
At the beginning of lockdown, as our churches were required to close, we were unable to continue to offer accommodation in our buildings as part of Glass Door’s Winter Night Shelter. Thankfully the government stepped in to work with homeless charities to provide accommodation to protect these most vulnerable people and keep them safe as the crisis deepened. Sadly, this government aided assistance came to an end as lockdown began to ease and as you will be aware the numbers of homeless sleeping rough on our streets is increasing by the day.
This desperate situation will only continue to worsen as we move towards the winter and we obviously are eager to continue to support Glass Door in appropriate ways so that both guests and volunteers stay safe. At the moment – and the situation constantly changes – it seems very unlikely that night shelters as we have offered them in our churches over the last three years will be able to open, but there will be opportunities to support the homeless by working with Glass Door in other ways. Our coordinators are keeping in regular contact with the directors at Glass Door so that when the time is right we can step up and offer the help which is needed.
If you would like to know more about Glass Door then please see their website at www.glassdoor.org.uk
GlassDoor is starting to plan night shelters for the 2020-2021 season – they may not be operating rotating shelters as usual in the Borough of Richmond upon Thames, but are working hard to think about alternatives.
At our January synod meeting we agreed to give £2,000 to Glass Door to support the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons of their work in Richmond churches and their letter of thanks is below.
Shelter guests now all moved to hotels! (Apart from a few guests in the Kensington and Chelsea circuit) Glass Door shelters shut so all guests and volunteers can safely go into self-isolation.
Update From the Vineyard Community Centre – 23rd March
We are pleased to say that the government’s initiative to temporarily home rough sleepers in hotels has been initiated in Richmond and that the higher health risk of the Glassdoor winter nightshelter has now closed.
With others, we will continue to support the needs of this group with food and essentials as they now also have the possibility of staying indoors.
Our borough foodbank service continues and is very likely to increase in demand. We are in touch with our local authority to see how vulnerable groups can best be supported.
The winter night shelters are now open until April 2020. In
the Richmond Circuit the following churches will be hosting one night each week:
Sundays at St Marys, Ferry Road,Teddington Mondays at St Elizabeths, The Vineyard, Richmond Tuesdays at Vineyard Life Church, The Vineyard, Richmond Wednesdays at All Saints, East Sheen Avenue, East Sheen Thursdays at St John the Divine, Kew Road, Richmond Fridays at Christ Church, Christ Church Road, East Sheen Saturdays at St Matthias, Friars Stile Road, Richmond
St Michael and All Angels will host one night of the Hammersmith circuit. (A circuit is a group of 7 churches – close together in distance – who open their doors, on the same night every week, from October – April, each year offering the homeless a hot meal and a bed for the night.)
Please prayer for the men and women who will stay at the
shelters and for the the volunteers and caseworkers that will help the guests
to better lives.
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough, you can send an alert via StreetLink who connect people sleeping rough with the local services that can support them.
On Sunday 2nd February, St Mary Magdalene reported:
After the first 60 days of this Glass Door Homeless Charity season, 422 men and 88 women have been helped with a hot meal and a bed for the night – a 20% increase thanks to a 5th circuit.
Since June 2018 caseworkers have worked with 950 individuals and helped 114 into housing and 38 into employment.
Would you be able to provide any of the following for our Glass Door guests (travel size particularly wanted): deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, face wipes, body wipes, sanitary towels, tampons, lip balm, hand cream, anti-bac gel. Please pop into the baskets at the back of St John’s or St Matthias or them into the Parish Office, Ormond Road. Thank you.
Waitrose have kindly donated oranges which have been made into delicious Marmalade, which went on sale at church this morning with profits going to Glass Door.
Our first evening of the new night shelter season with Glass Door. Delicious butternut squash soup, lasagne, red cabbage and peas, lots of donated fresh bread, chocolate crispy cakes made by a local school and cakes made by one of our church families.
We welcomed 20 guests in from the cold, for a hot healthy meal and somewhere safe to sleep. Case workers are on hand to support the guests in their next steps.
Thank you all for showing God’s love in action
Sleep Out 2019
The total raised to date has reached over £191,000 – the highest amount raised within a week after the event, which has taken place the first Friday of October every year since 2013. Glass Door is hoping to surpass the £200,000 target before the end of the month.
The winter night shelter project in across the deanery in partnership with GlassDoor was hosted by St Matthias and St John the Divine in Richmond and All Saints and Christ Church in East Sheen. The project has now ended and the shelters are empty…..
The work continues throughout the year click here to find out how NextDoor are looking ahead to next winter.
Glass Door Update to Deanery Synod 5th June 2019
We had 158 guests in our shelters – ⅓ from the UK, ⅓ from the EU and ⅓ from the rest of the world . Guests included 58 women, the highest percentage of the four circuits. However some women would just come for the meal and then go..
35 people have been rehoused.
Large numbers have been reconnected with benefits and family.
The Glass Door project was mentioned in a recent council meeting. This year the council have been very supportive of the project unlike three years ago.
Issues arising this year that GlassDoor are addressing for next year:
Need to consider disabled access
Need to make closer links with women’s refuges
Training in mental health issues so issues with guests can be spotted. It was noted the police needed training as well as the volunteers.
The Deanery hosted 4 out of the 7 nights in the Richmond circuit and the level of volunteering has been wonderful.
guest was quoted as saying “I had no home and lost my business but GlassDoor
turned my life around”.
As the GlassDoor shelters closed in April, Father Peter Hart asked us to pray…
…for the guests who may have returned to sleeping rough or sofa-surfing.
… for all those who have been rehoused, found work, had
their benefits sorted out, put back in contact with family, had their documents
restored – a blessing for them.
…for the staff and volunteers at the Vineyard Centre,
Richmond as they continue to offer support and practical help throughout the
We should also give thanks….
…for the amazing volunteers who have made the winter night
shelter project in partnership with GlassDoor possible.
…for an amazing community response to the project. Not just
from the Churches but from the wider community and local schools.
…five months of welcome, fine food and good company
As we begin Lent many of us will take up a discipline to help us to observe a reflective and prayerful time in preparing for Holy Week and Easter. Some of you, I know, will have decided upon a Lenten book and others of you will join a Lent Group through your church or decide to try a different daily prayer routine. Many – those who are a part of our churches and those who are not – will give up something as part of their Lenten discipline. It might be meat or alcohol or sugar or any number of things that you really enjoy. Others, too, might take something up for Lent such as trying to pray more or going for longer walks in order to have some time alone to reflect upon the day. Whatever you do I hope that you will find Lent to be a helpful time in which to reflect upon and grow in your faith.
Each year I invite individuals, churches and schools to join me in offering prayer and donations to my Lent Call projects. Usually the majority of the projects are in other parts of the world but, this year, my brother Bishops and I are so aware of the need here at home too that we have decided that we will feature projects in this Diocese for three weeks of Lent and projects in our Link Dioceses for the other two. We have decided to feature food insecurity because this is a real issue for many here in the Diocese and for people in Zimbabwe and the Diocese of Jerusalem.
The pandemic has changed many people’s lives in the last year as they have lost loved ones and found it harder to support themselves day by day. For some, the loss of income and security caused by the effects of the lockdowns has been the thing that has tipped them over into needing to use food banks and feeding projects both here and overseas.
I hope that you will feel able to support these projects generously in the coming weeks, giving what you can to help others who have less. I know that some will have been spending less as a result of the lockdown and I hope and pray that, if this is the case for you, you will feel able to be generous in giving to the Lent projects. I know that for some this year has been very hard and if you are not able to give to the projects, please do pray for them.
I have recorded this video which talks about the projects that we are featuring:
We have also produced some materials to help you to reflect upon the need for the work of the projects and the narrative of the feeding of the four thousand (Mark 8: 1-8), as well as a prayer. Do please follow the Lent Call material and consider how you can best support the projects featured. Thank you.
we give thanks for all that you have given to us.
We pray for those who are experiencing food insecurity
in the places featured in the Lent Call and elsewhere.
Help us to show compassion for them.
Give us the will to work with others to help to bring about change.
Help us to show our care and concern for those around us who are in need.
Bring justice and fullness of life to all your people.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord.
Lent Call 2021 projects
Projects in Zimbabwe
Initiatives supporting food security, water supplies, and infrastructure in our Link Dioceses of Central Zimbabwe, Matabeleland, Masvingo and Manicaland.
The Diocese of Jerusalem
Helping our new Link Diocese in Jerusalem to support up to 50 vulnerable families to feed themselves.
We held an Open Meeting via Zoom with Lucy Abraham from Glass Door on Thursday, 26th November. Lucy spoke about the current situation for rough sleepers locally, Glass Door’s intended response in line with the Covid related restrictions and the support that churches and individuals can give to Glass Door.
During the talk, Lucy mentioned many ways that you can support the work of Glass Door or help a homeless person.
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in London, you can use the Streetlink website to send an alert to StreetLink. The details you provide will be reviewed by the StreetLink team who will look at the information you provide and make a judgement as to whether the alert is suitable to be sent to the local street outreach for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support.
It is important to note that if you think the person you are concerned about is under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police.
Please click here to find out how you can help the work of Glass Door this winter.
At the last Diocesan Synod in March Reigate Deanery proposed a motion (click here) calling for Churches to take action against knife crime. What support the Church can offer to reduce knife crime?
Offering support to the victims and perpetrators and their families and friends.
Supporting our schools to reduce exclusion through the roles of church youth workers and other ministers.
Providing alternatives such as knife bins and safe places for children from the end of school until parents and guardians return home.
Offering positive male role models, to help young men who’ve had no father figure, understand how to deal with anger.
This motion is now being taken forward to General Synod and Revd Canon Dr Rosemarie Mallett has been talking about these proposals in the national news.
We also discussed these issues at the last Deanery Synod and are working out how we can use our deanery structure to protect our young people from violence. One possible response is to raise money for a knife bin to be placed where it’s most needed. Can we open our doors to our young people? Or is there something else we can do?
We are raising these questions in our indvidual Churches and will report back and discuss further at the next Deanery Synod in October.
We decided as a deanery that we would like to fund a Knife Bin via Word 4 Weapons to be placed somewhere in the Diocese where it would be most needed. £10,000 is needed to fund a bin for five years as follows:
£4,000 manufacture, delivery, 1st year maintenance
£1,535 subsequent annual maintenance
It works out as £5.70 for each person on the electoral rolls of Richmond & Barnes, around £750 per church or less than £2.50 per church each week for five years.
At the October 2019 Synod it was reported that there had been a good initial response to the appeal so far.
At the January 2020 Synod, it was reported that we are now confident our target will be reached. Parishes have responded in different ways – some have promised money from the PCC (some with a one-off donation and some spreading over a number of years), some are holding their own appeal.
The next stage is exploring where the bin should be placed and we will report back to the Deanery Synod once we are clearer on the location, following discussion with Word4Weapons and the Diocese’s social justice team. Word4Weapons are keen that the bins should be placed within Church premises.
Recent comments from Word4Weapons highlight the difference a knife bin makes and how crucial the location is. In a three-month period one bin had collected 40 knives and one bin had collected 300 knives. A very powerful illustration of need.
A deanery within the diocese of Southwark in South West London