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Welcoming Christ, the Homeless One: The Soup Kitchen at AIC

Dear <<First Name>>,

This Sunday, we heard the Christmas story from our children's nativity play. This year's play was based on the Las Posadas from Mexico and Panunuluyan from the Philippines in which Mary and Joseph are joined by others as they travel from house to house seeking shelter. Finding none, they eventually make their way to the church where a celebration awaits.

In our adaptation, Mary and Joseph joined other travelers without homes: a Windrush migrant; a child whose house was destroyed by a typhoon; a boy fleeing war in Syria; and a homeless man from the local park. Just like Mary and Joseph—for whom no room could be found at the inn—each of our travelling children were turned away.

Putting on this play was a way to remind ourselves just how similar the story of the Holy Family looking for a room in an inn is to the countless individuals in today's world who are also searching for a place of rest. Keeping with the tradition of the play, we welcomed the young travelers into the church at the end.

We try to do the same with those who find themselves in London without a home through the work of The Soup Kitchen.

Read on to find out more about The Soup Kitchen, including their recent Christmas celebration. As we prepare to welcome Christ the Homeless One this December, we also make space to welcome the homeless of today. May you, too, be inspired for the season ahead and moved to serve God with us in new and expanding ways.

In Faith,
Jonathan Miller
Missions and Ministry Intern

(Each week of Advent, we are sending brief messages inviting you to reflect on the week's message by offering ways to welcome and serve Christ today, in whatever identity he may come in.)
Unable to make it to church this past Sunday? You can listen to Pastor Jennifer's reflection given after the nativity play on "Welcoming Christ, the Homeless One" via the following link or download the SoundCloud app to your phone to catch up later in the week: https://soundcloud.com/amchurchlondon/welcoming-christ-the-homeless-one
Founded in 1986, The Soup Kitchen @ AIC is a resource for the homeless, elderly, lonely and poor in Central London. Working with this crucial mission, the church supports the provision of free hot meals, clothes and toiletries, and the space provided offers a sense of belonging and community for those who are in need. The Soup Kitchen serves nearly 90 people a day from 10am-12 noon, Monday through Saturday, with a Clothes Closet open on Mondays. To find out more information about the work of The Soup Kitchen, visit amchurch.co.uk/soup-kitchen.
Volunteer: The Soup Kitchen is open again from January 3
 
If you are interested in helping out at The Soup Kitchen, email soupkitchenvols@hotmail.com. The volunteer rota is scheduled two weeks in advance of the coming month. In the middle of each month, an email is sent to all volunteers asking them to sign up for the next month.
Any unwanted clothes, canned goods or toiletries?
 
We can always use extra clothes and toiletries for our Clothes Closet and canned goods for our cooking! — And if we can’t make use of it, we will find a place that can. Donations can be brought to the office on Sunday mornings or any time during the week.
News from The Soup Kitchen
 
Numbers have Increased: From serving around 70 guests just one year ago, The Soup Kitchen regularly serves 90 guests during the week and 100+ on Saturdays.

Extra Day: To meet this extra need, The Soup Kitchen has expanded to six days a week (from the previous five) by adding a Wednesday morning shift.

Mental Health Professional: One of The Soup Kitchen’s aims is to offer a safe and welcoming community that combats loneliness and isolation. Many who are homeless have a barrier to finding this sense of community due to some sort of mental illness, so The Soup Kitchen recently hired a part-time mental health professional, creating London’s first soup kitchen with a mental health drop-in!

Consulting Room: In order to provide space for the mental health professional to work discretely with guests as well as for other potential future services, a small consulting room is going to be built underneath the staircase leading down to the south courtyard.

Donations: Giving has greatly increased over the last year, especially from local businesses and institutions. This has included the campaign to raise £35,000 to provide for the mental health worker and consulting room as well as donations of brand new, quality clothing for the Clothes Closet.

Christmas Lunch: Run over two one-hour shifts, The Soup Kitchen’s annual Christmas meal fed over 200 guests with help from members of AIC, local businesses, the Scouts and many more volunteers.
Copyright © 2018 American International Church London, All rights reserved.


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