Celebrating 60 years of offering God’s love to the needy and marginalised

This blog post was written by Daniel Coghill who works for Affinity Agency member, London City Mission (LCM). Daniel leads a team of 21 people working in LCM’s three homeless ministries in South London. He is also responsible for the strategic oversight of how these ministries can equip local churches to minister to homeless people. Daniel’s vision is to see a move of God amongst the homeless as people come to know Jesus. 

Being prepared to sit with people at their very lowest point enables them to begin to restore people to hope.

Guests usually arrive at Webber Street – a day centre for people who are homeless run by London City Mission – when they are at their very lowest, the worst point in their lives. Things don’t get much lower than sleeping on the street and losing contact with family and friends. When they’re no longer in touch with any family and friends, and no one else is helping them, Webber Street are the ones that are still there for them. That goes to the heart of what Webber Street are about. For 60 years Webber Street have been there to show through day-to-day work that they look for small victories in people’s lives. Sometimes it’s things such as someone accepting that they have a problem to deal with, or attending a bible study.

Since 1962 the Webber Street day centre has had its doors open to people living on the streets in the Waterloo area of London. From the very beginning, sharing eternal hope in Christ has gone hand-in-hand with offering practical support for men and women who are homeless. By God’s grace, Webber Street have recently celebrated 60 years of offering God’s love to the needy and marginalised. 

However, recently my team went through a rough patch. One of our guests – one of our friends really – passed away as he was sleeping in a churchyard. He died within walking distance of Webber Street. A very gifted man, his death had a deep impact on the regular guests who knew him well and on us as a team. As we talked through our grief, we realised that many times over the years it has been Webber Street team members who have been the last ones to offer love and support to people. 

Regardless of how bad things get, and how difficult times are, there’s always hope. That’s really the message that the Webber Street team share with anyone who walks through the doors. Stories like Robert’s (not his real name), who has been visiting Webber Street for a few years now and has a very challenging history of living on the street. During the lockdowns, team members were having great conversations on the street in which Robert started asking serious questions about faith. Since then, he has been on a slow journey toward Jesus. Now Robert is growing in his faith and developing a faith of his own. He’s going to the church where one of the Webber Street team members is involved and is now talking about wanting to get baptised.

A journey to restoration

The team at Webber Street don’t expect instant results, although they do believe God can do this, they are committed to long-term rehabilitation. Restoration can take a long period of people coming alongside others, and gently supporting them.

One thing that I’ve learned in being involved in this ministry is that the further, the deeper we go with trying to support someone who is in need, is that people’s lives and needs are really complicated; you have to go really deep, and a lot of support is needed. The nature of the work is that you don’t always see the impact or the big successes in this ministry, but some of the great stories come after people have moved on from Webber Street. They sometimes come back to speak about the part Webber Street has played in their restoration and the grace of God that has been at work in their lives.

It is such a joy for me to see God at work restoring broken and damaged lives and I’m so grateful for everyone who is on this journey with us.

If you would like to get involved on this journey with me, or find out more about the ministry at Webber Street, visit lcm.org.uk.


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