The Community Table at Ichthus Southcroft recently celebrated a year and a half of serving the homeless.
The project was started in late 2014 by Steve & Sara Findlater and Annette Champion from Southcroft congregation. On the day of Ichthus’ Streatham Common outreach with Moises Annacondia in 2014, Steve met a man who slept rough around the common. He found his heart moved as he spoke to the man, faith rising and a desire growing in his heart to do more to help the homeless in Streatham and Mitcham.
The Community Table seeks to meet the spiritual as well as physical needs of the homeless. Over the last 18 months the team has served hot food, showers and clothes, but also offered a friendly ear and witnessed lives transformed through prayer and practical help.
Recently they have begun praying for more skilled workers to be able to give time and help, and God has been answering. Steve told us about this when we spoke to him recently.
‘Without us doing anything except praying, God has started sending us more people to help out,’ he said. ‘We have a mobile unit from St George’s hospital coming down here to do free x-rays and inoculations. We’ve also recently had workers from housing turning up and getting involved, and someone from drug & alcohol recovery in the local area.’
They have also had some food miracles. ‘We’ve been getting more and more guys coming,’ Steve explained. ‘In early September we were starting to get ready to serve up the curry we had prepared. Everyone was getting worried because it didn’t look like there was enough to go around.
‘My wife Sara went outside at one point, and on the floor there was a bag with a pan full of curry, and a note apologising that they hadn’t been able to cook rice! We don’t know who left this, but a lot of people in the community have been noticing what we’re doing and contributing. And the Lord knew we were having curry that week!’
What about some of the people that have been impacted by the Community Table? Steve started to tell us about George. ‘He’s our first convert, a Polish guy. After he had started coming to church and had become a Christian, he was given a deportation notice. We did everything we could to keep him here, but we don’t know if that would have been best for him. As it turned out when he went back, God gave him work and a place to live for the first time in many years, and he was able to be with his Mum in her last days before she passed away in Poland. God has always been one step ahead with him.
‘A guy called Michael got cleaned up and joined us, but had to move around, first of all because he was evicted and then because he had family business. The first time someone from Team Challenge met him and was able to help him keep free from drugs, the next time someone from an old project he used to be involved in thought of him at the right time and gave him a place to live!’
Steve is a true ‘dreamer for the kingdom’ – isn’t it encouraging to see what happens when we follow the dreams God has put on our hearts!