The ‘Homeless’ pod in search of a church at NAEC, Sroneleigh Park – 4/5 Mar

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It may be just 8ft by 6ft – with bed, toilet and USB socket – but for a homeless person it’s a potential life saver.

The Amazing Grace Spaces pod – officially an urban emergency sleeping hut – will be on display at next week’s Christian Resources Exhibition (NAEC, Stoneleigh Park, nr Coventry, 4/5 Mar 2020). And the man behind the project, Stuart Johnson from Llanwern, Newport in South Wales, is keen to find churches prepared to donate a car parking space on which to locate one of his creations.

‘I cannot believe no one has come up with this solution before,’ said Stuart who is delighted two churches have already ordered pods. ‘They are not the final answer, but while someone is waiting for permanent accommodation, they know they are safe from bullying or injury or losing the few possessions they may have. They also give members of a church the opportunity to minister to them in a loving and caring manner.’

One person intrigued by the idea is ‘Honest’ John from Coventry who has been homeless three times over the years. 

‘I’m looking forward to seeing it at Stoneleigh Park,’ he said. ‘The first time I ended up on the streets I was scared, didn’t know what to do or where to go. I was hungry but God showed me where the soup kitchens were. I felt unclean, I was guided towards some free showers. I’d say the most important bit of advice I’d give people in my situation is to read Jeremiah 29:11: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out, plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”’

To be opened by TV presenter Timmy Mallett, the two-day CRE Midlands 2020, often dubbed the ‘ideal church show’, returns to the region for the first time in five years. All floor space was sold with weeks to go and more than 150 charities, missions and church suppliers will display everything from heating systems to evangelistic puppets, lighting to pilgrimages, candles to computers. Clergy on the Catwalk (11am, Wed 4 Mar) will feature the latest in ecclesiastical clothing, modelled by up to a dozen clergy from the West Midlands. A series of 30 practical seminars, given by both regional and national experts, will cover issues of vital concern to an expected 2500 local church leaders and members.

CRE Midlands 2020 at Stoneleigh Park, nr Coventry, opening hours: Wed 4 Mar 10am-5pm; Thu 5 Mar, 10am-4.30pm.

Visit www.creonline.co.uk for more information.  

Stephen Godd

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