A Place to Call Home
22 February 2017
With many churches finding themselves called
upon to offer practical support to those in housing crisis, four
leading UK churches, with the support of the national Christian
charities, Housing Justice and Scottish Churches Housing Action,
have called upon their congregations to hold conversations around
housing and homelessness in the UK.
A new resource of bible studies "A Place to Call Home" has been
launched today and available on the JPIT website: www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/aplacetocallhome.
The resource has been created by JPIT, the Joint Public Issues Team
who work on behalf of the leading non-conformist churches* to
tackle issues including poverty, peace and the environment from a
"They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit." (Isaiah 65:21)
These words, written by the prophet Isaiah, look forward to God's
coming kingdom as one that will include secure housing and fruitful
enterprise. This makes housing a key topic for Christians.
God's vision of society is one where everyone is cared and provided
for, not where some place their own needs and priorities above the
well-being of all.
Since 2010 there has been a steady increase in the number of
families accepted as homeless and in those living in temporary
accommodation. Recently, street homelessness has begun to
increase dramatically. Churches across the UK are increasingly
having to provide support for vulnerable people in housing crisis
as the Government's welfare safety net is withdrawn.
The resource does not seek to prescribe a
solution but to motivate and inform local Christians so that they
can develop an appropriate response locally to their own situation
by applying the principles of Scripture.
Topics for discussion include:
- Houses as a home and the building blocks of communities with
Christian values at their centre.
- How good should housing be and the impact of substandard
- The shortage of affordable housing.
- The changing nature of home where one part of society sees it
as an unachievable basic of life while others view it as property
and a financial opportunity.
The Revd Phil Jump, who wrote the resource
works as an interim Public Issues officer with the Baptist Union,
"This is more than a crisis of bricks and mortar, it affects and
blights the lives of many people. Being forced to live in
sub-standard housing or struggling with unmanageable housing costs
affects the lives of families across the United Kingdom. These
conditions stifle the development of children, and pass
disadvantage to the next generation. These are all realities that
Christian citizens will find themselves confronted with.
"Many within our congregations may well be struggling to afford
the housing they need, some within our communities may even look to
local churches for help. There are also some quite remarkable
success stories about how churches over many decades have provided
housing and homes, particularly for those who are most vulnerable
in our society."
Welcoming this new resource, Alison Gelder,
Chief Executive of Housing Justice, the national Christian voice on
homelessness and housing and one of the organisations who have
supported the resource, said:
"Housing Justice is delighted to see these new Bible Studies on
homeless, published by the Joint Public Issue Team.
"Church members can often see the effect of
homelessness as they walk to and from their place of worship each
week. But, how often do we take time to reflect theologically on
this subject, looking to see what God says on the matter?
I encourage Christians of all traditions to
take some time, especially as we approach Lent, to use these
materials in their small groups."
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church of Scotland, the
Methodist Church and the United Reformed Church collaborate
together on issues of justice and inequality as part of the Joint
Public Issues Team. For more information, please visit www.jointpublicissues.org.uk