Radio 4 Christmas Appeal 2014
Revd Dr Sam Wells – Vicar of st Martin-in-the-Fields
Full text of the 2014 Appeal – first broadcast 7 December 2014
What’s the most fulfilling thing anyone’s ever told you? How about when someone takes your shoulders, looks you straight in the eye, and, with their speech faltering, says, ‘You were there for me.’
What’s the most harrowing thing a child can say to a parent? ‘I thought you’d always be there for me.’
When you see a person who’s homeless, you see a man or woman who’s found at their moment of crisis that no one was there for them. No one. And you want to be helpful but you realise you can’t offer them what they most deeply need.
When you meet someone who’s emerged out of homelessness, you can be pretty certain it’s because someone, eventually, was there for them. Maybe an art teacher in a homeless day centre who saw in them a spark of real talent; perhaps a social worker who stuck with them till they could begin to live again.
What brings people out of crisis is relationship. A person who misses them, argues with them, encourages them – and remembers their name. A person to whom they say, ‘I didn’t want let you down.’ A person into whose eyes they’ll look intently when they say, ‘You were there for me.’
If you can’t be that person, but you believe that such people are the best way to address homelessness, please give generously to the Radio 4 St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal. We can extend the work of The Connection at St Martin’s, a daycentre that builds life-changing relationships with rough sleepers in Central London. And, through the Vicar’s Relief Fund, social workers around the country who already have those relationships with vulnerable people can get grants within 24 hours to save people from eviction when their life is falling apart.
We can’t all build transformative relationships with individual homeless people. But think about a person emerging from desperate crisis. Think about when they turn to an outreach worker who’s walked with them over weeks or years towards getting their life back in shape, and say, ‘You were there for me.’ If you donate to the Christmas Appeal you can know that those words are meant for you too.
You can make your gift right now by calling 0800 082 82 84. That’s 0800 082 82 84.
Or you can give online on the Radio 4 website.
Or you can send a cheque to: The St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal, and post it to St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ. That’s St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 4JJ.
Thank you. Thank you for being there for us.
Read Sam’s reflection on writing the Appeal.