Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Open Door

On Thursday the four of us visited Open Door at Colchester. Running from the premises of Colchester Baptist Church, Open Door is a daily drop-in centre, open from 10-2 Monday to Friday (apart from Thursday). As well as offering food and drink at a nominal charge, the centre also seeks to provide a place where poor and marginalised people can find a welcome and a listening ear in a safe and controlled place. Over the last year the average number of daily visitors has been around 50-70 persons per day, with needs varying from unemployment, loneliness and relationship breakdown to homelessness, drug and other addictions and mental illness etc. At least 4 people serve in varying capacities each day, and qualified counsellors are available when required.
It was wonderful to meet Jimmy, one of the volunteers, and to hear the miraculous story of what God had done in his life: healing him of hepatitis B and C and delivering him from a 35 year hard drug habit, without a day of cold turkey. But the miracle lives on in his life as he wants to share what God has done for him with others. It was great too, to see how the marginalised and those on the edge of society had found a place where they felt welcome and at home, but with sensible rules and guidelines in place. This was not just a jolly day out for the four of us though… we saw it as a fact finding opportunity for us to learn how other people currently do what we would love to see here in Bury St Edmunds.

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