March Church Link
During this season of Lent many will have made a deliberate effort to give more attention to God, to others and what is happening within themselves. Working creatively with the issues that have led to homelessness and that have previously often been numbed by addiction is important within Alabaré. For from working creatively with the messiness of life hope can be found and harnessed, and used to make the steps, both emotional and practical, that lead to sustaining a tenancy. From this increasingly secure basis living life abundantly is more possible. It is a process that requires courage when engaging with specialist support from partner agencies. There is also risk in stopping from the ‘busyness’ that tries to fill every day so as to avoid the issues of the heart and soul. Once the lid has been lifted from the jar, support is needed as we do the reflective work thoroughly and fruitfully.
Recently the Alabaré chaplaincy team enjoyed a visit from Professor Gillian Ahlgren from Xavier University in the US. Our work connects in terms of engaging with spirituality whilst supporting those recovering from addiction. At Alabaré this includes the recovery homes such as Arch, Ruth and Andrew, and Barnabas House for women. Gillian shared her work connected with the Ignatian Spirituality Project Cincinnati Women’s Team. This team offer retreats to women who are homeless and actively engaging in the recovery process for substance abuse. They offer short retreats that capitalise on areas where spiritual practices and the Twelve Steps intersect. This includes tools to engage in a deeper relationship with a higher power, whilst keeping open who this might be. It also brings together the inventory (which is focused on seeking reconciliation with) and the practice of examen. Gillian adapts the ideas of John O’Donoghue. The questions for reflection and dialogue, of which a few examples are given below, focus on:
- Self awareness-What did I learn today?
- Others close by- What differences did I notice in those closest to me?
- Others further away- How did I meet the marginalized today?
- Openness- Where did I allow myself to receive love?
- Purpose- From the evidence—Why was I given this day?
Following his affirmation based on God’s declaration of love (Matthew 3) Jesus is driven into the wilderness by the Spirit (4.1). The word used in the Greek for the Spirit is female (peristera). This is the ‘rock dove’ that occupies the wilderness, and so its presence in the wilderness of the Gospel is understandable. Closer to home, on the Scottish isle of Iona it occupies dark places such as the ‘Cave of death’. The rock dove transforms these places and brings life. This is an apt image for the work of the Spirit in our lives and especially for those of us in dark places.
There is a deep connection between engaging with spirituality and recovery. This was made explicit in the Lemos and Crane report Lost and Found, where the conclusion was for charities to make provision for exploring spirituality. Returning to the Ignatian Project those who engage in the retreat and follow up support meetings are nearly three times less likely to return to their addiction. This is good news.
Michael Mitton 2000 Wild Beasts and Angels: Remaining Human in the Healing Ministry London: DLT
Celebrating 25 years of Alabaré
As our 25th anniversary draws to a close, we would like to thank all of our supporters. Those who have helped make this year a great success. Click here to see more.
Support through prayer
We are deeply thankful for the prayers and support that we receive every month The prayer requests this month from our church communities. Thanks to you we have been transforming lives for 25 years.
Our prayer requests this month our homes supporting people who are homeless.
Anyone can be affected by homelessness. Relationship breakdowns, loss of employment and ill health are all common reasons why someone can become homeless, but there are many others. If housing is a problem, then it is very important that people seek help and advice as soon as possible. Click here to find out more about our homelessness services.
Colleagues and residents we are supporting at Alabaré have asked for your prayers to help with;
Good health for our residents. Many people who are service living with us require medical attention and ongoing treatment after living rough or in inappropriate housing. We ask that people will have courage to seek treatment and tenacity in continuing with it.
For the staff working under immense pressure. Alabaré is working hard to become financially sustainable at a time when government funding cuts are putting a squeeze on local authority budgets and supported housing providers. Yet this is in a climate where demand for our services is increasing.
Our residents, staff and volunteers in our services supporting homeless people. Alabaré Place Drop In service Salisbury, drug and alcohol recovery (Arch Service Salisbury, Ruth House Devizes, Andrew House Clevedon, Charis House Bideford), vulnerable women (Barnabas House, Salisbury), accommodation for those who are homeless with medium to high needs (Alabaré Place, Salisbury) and move on (Barnards Cross Salisbury) and Salisbury Move on (a number of homes throughout the city). We pray for staff and residents as people move on. We remember the Christian chaplains who support each place and ask that they increase in number.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support.
Come and join the Alabaré volunteering family
We need your help! Volunteering is a great way to learn new skills, join a team of friendly people and make a diffrence to the lives of homeless and vulnerable people.
We are about to open a charity superstore at Wilton and need help sorting clothes - steaming, hanging and displaying along with strong people to move furniture. Can you help? We also have volunteering roles available in upcycling furniture, stock room assistant and helping with house clearances.
Back by popular demand...
Alabaré is teaming up again with Glow In The Park and our friends at Longleat to unleash the ultimate family friendly UV fun run.
Fantastic light shows and live music will carry you all around the course as you Get Your Glow On in the Foam Zone, powder up in the UV Paint Blast Zone and get grooving in the Time Tunnel. Open to all abilities and age groups - whether you dance / walk / jog or run - Glow in the Park is your time to shine.