One particular morning was so cold, so bitterly, bitingly cold. The temperature had dropped considerably during the night and many of the homeless that greeted us stood shivering and desperate for change. Every Saturday morning we meet around a brick wall, under a tree, alongside London's historic Westminster Cathedral. That day, some of the homeless were clothed with mismatching wool hats, very thin winter jackets, and no gloves. Only a few of the dozens of men and women had any proper clothing to meet the elements. Many were without jacket or scarf and some did not even have a pair of shoes.
Since 1994, Eleos International Ministries has been reaching out to the homeless community throughout the greater London area. Over the years, this ministry has established a fixed meeting place in the heart of the city. "The Church Without Walls" (CWW), as the homeless affectionately call it, has been ministering the gospel to literally thousands of London's homeless and street community. Our team arrives early every Saturday morning with a tea urn, sandwiches, chocolates, eggs, fruit, clothing, Bibles, tracks, and above all, the love of Christ. It has been estimated that over the years, CWW has served over 34,000 cups of tea, distributed 19,000 sandwiches, 18,000 hard boiled eggs, 5,000 Kit Kat bars, numerous boxes of fresh fruit as well as countless sweaters, gloves, shoes, jackets and hats. We have also assisted our transient flock in the distribution of many rail and telephone cards.
Our workers gather from all over London and from all walks of life, occupations and lifestyles. The team consists of pastors, evangelists, ex-addicts, ex-offenders, property consultants, accountants, computer programmers, small business operators and trade brokers. All share the common belief that God can and will make a difference to anyone who calls upon His name. This dedicated and growing team meets early in the morning for a time of prayer and intercession. Once beneath the tree, there is the usual scurrying of greetings and introductions, especially to the new faces and to those returning to London. The main message is the love of God, found only in Christ, available to all who turn to him in repentance.
To the dozens of the street sleepers, homeless and jobless; the drifters, outcasts, ex-offenders and social misfits; drug users, alcoholics, and those addicted to any life controlling problems; to all the lonely, displaced and misunderstood persons who gather every week we are the only church they have ever experienced. Here under the tree in the middle of central London, like many a tree that Jesus might have sat beneath, we expound the Word of God, pray for the salvation, healing and deliverance of everyone who comes. This "Church Without Walls" has also aided in the process of bringing families back together and restoring marriages. There is an unspoken membership, an acceptance, a belonging to a fellowship of believers, and a strong community of faith.
Truly, God calls everyone who is lonely, afflicted, broken-hearted, and searching, to come to him and find fulfillment, hope, and renewed life.
Our Church Without Walls Homeless Outreach meets every Saturday morning. (Contact our U.K. office for more details)