Moravian Messenger January 2020
P. 1

New Year, New Challenge
Before Advent I participated in the St Basils Big Sleepout. St Basils is a Birmingham based charity and housing association that supports young people aged 16-25 who are homeless, vulnerable or at risk. Every year, amongst other fundraising activities, they host a sleepout which attracts hundreds of people.
“People volunteer to 'rough it' for a night so that sponsorship money can be raised to help prevent youth homelessness; in short to prevent young people from having to do this for real. This event is not an exercise in 'what it's like to be homeless', it is a fundraising event that also helps raise the awareness of homeless issues to the wider community.” tsandcs/
So why did I volunteer to sleep in a cardboard box on a winter's night? The main reason was to raise money for a local charity that does so much good work for young people. Having worked with young people who are 'looked after' I am aware of the number of young
people who leave social care with no support and end up sleeping rough on the streets.
The evening started out very pleasantly, however the temperature dropped to - 2C overnight. There was a brass band playing carols, a local Sikh charity provided food and I spent the time chatting to other 'campers'. At 11.30pm we all assembled in the Cathedral for a presentation of prizes for the 'Most decorated box' and a short service of carols led by the Bishop of Birmingham Rt Rev David Urquhart. We then left the Cathedral to bed down for the night. I was very well wrapped up with layers of socks and gloves etc.; my sleeping bag was very warm, but I was not used to sleeping on a hard, cold surface. I was also very surprised at the noise in the city centre so late in the night. The emergency vehicle sirens, car horns and shouting from night clubbers was relentless. The Cathedral square was fenced off for the night and there were security staff employed to keep us safe, but this made me all the more aware of the dangers
© Sr Lorraine Shorten
for people who have to sleep rough.
After a lot of tossing, turning and readjusting covers I finally dozed off only to be awakened half an hour later by people packing up their 'homes' as the recycling van would be collecting the boxes shortly. I pulled myself back into the cold night air and packed up my few belongings. Before leaving the square, I called back into the Cathedral which had been open all night. I sat in the pews and reflected on the night. I was suddenly overcome with emotion and sat and bawled my eyes out at the injustice of the world. I was able to go home to a nice hot bath and warm bed and NOT have to repeat this the following night, or any other night, how lucky I was!
The second reason for doing the 'Big Brum Sleepout' was to do something out of my comfort zone. This isn't the first time I have done something a little different. In 2008 when I lived in Gomersal, West Yorkshire, I participated in a 50ft abseil with two amazing women, Srs Angela Horsfall and Victoria Wright. We raised money for Gomersal Moravian Church and two other charities. The hardest part for me was
continued on page 3
A Visit to Christiansfeld
(page 3)
Congregation News
(pages 10-11)
First in a new series on Understanding Marriage in the
21st Century (page 5)
Speaking the Truth in Love
(page 6-7)

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