Bringing God's grace and healing love
to people with life-disrupting problems
Of course, some things don't change. The people begging on our streets, the misery caused by addiction and homelessness, the need for food, support, friendship and help - these things don't change. Neither, fortunately, does the willingness of our volunteers to come alongside the people suffering in these ways, or the generosity of the people and churches that support us. We are, as always, immensely grateful for all the ways people contribute to the work of the Crisis Centre, through which we are enabled to help the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society.
But change is an integral part of this ministry - helping people to change, helping them cope with change, and responding to our own changing needs and circumstances. Derek Groves, the Director of Crisis Centre Ministries since its foundation, was always initiating change - finding news ways to help people out of the holes they find themselves in.
Many of you will know that Derek Groves has suffered from Parkinson's Disease for a number of years. In the Summer of 2000 he was given a sabbatical break, but during that time it became clear that he would not be able to return to a full time involvement in the ministry.
Derek's vision and ministry have been the means of bringing hope and love to countless numbers of people in and around the city - particularly people with life-disrupting problems, the homeless and the unemployed. His work in establishing CCM has been acclaimed and admired far beyond the city boundaries. Although he has now retired from a day-to-day involvement with CCM, we continue to benefit from his experience and wisdom in his new role as our Life President.
We are doing well for volunteers at present: there is an active and lively group of people who come in and do most of the 'real' work of spending time with and befriending our customers. But we still need more volunteers to enable us to open more hours each week, and there is a special need for people who can help us during school holidays, when a number of the current volunteers are unable to come in.
Other volunteers are helping us in the office in a number of support and administrative roles, for which we are very thankful. We are looking for at least one more person to come in on a regular basis and help us with fundraising.
We are putting much work into supporting and encouraging the volunteers, with more formal meetings and training sessions every other month, and occasional social events, as well as personal support on a one-to-one basis when it is needed.
We want to improve the effectiveness of our work in the Coffee Shop by employing an extra person who would be primarily based there. The primary purpose of this new role is to focus on the Christian ministry we offer to people there, and to follow up the people who have been helped by our staff and volunteers.
We have been training people in basic lifeskills for around 11 years now - we were one of the first groups in the country to attempt this kind of training. A lot has changed over this time: some of the needs have changed, and many other groups have recognised this area of concern and provide courses to help people get into or back into work. We are conducting a review to identify what is being offered to our customers by other groups, and where the gaps in training provision are.
We went through a period of meeting in a home, and then started public meetings in the Coffee Shop again on a monthly basis. From the start of 2001 we have re-started weekly meetings in which we experiment with what it means to provide a church for street people.
Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to the George Müller Foundation for their encouragement and support during this past year, and look forward to continuing our relationship in the years to come.