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The time of the end is the time of “no room.” Thomas Merton


Wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus “and who is my neighbour?” (Luke 10.29)


This year, St Matthew’s has been doing something new together as a church. Through the

coldest and dampest months of the year, on Saturday nights, the doors of the church were

opened, hot food prepared and beds made by a committed team of dedicated parish

volunteers. And up to 14 homeless men and women were welcomed into St Matthew’s as

guests for food, accommodation, fellowship and hospitality as part of the Ealing Churches

Winter Night Shelter (ECWNS) scheme.

ECWNS has been operating this vital service for the past eight years as a practical,

grassroots Christian response to the dramatic rise in homelessness across the borough.

Across Ealing, more than 21 churches and around 400 volunteers take part in the scheme,

providing food, shelter and support right throughout the winter months, when life on the

streets can be at its most harsh. St Matthew’s is delighted to be able to join together in

practical support of the ECWNS this year.

The constantly increasing statistics on homelessness make for very disturbing reading; there

has been a national rise in homelessness of up to 169 percent since 2010; London accounts

for 25 percent of the total homeless population of the UK. Ealing has 358 people sleeping on

the streets last year, a 47 percent increase on the previous year. As ECWNS point out,

homeless people are highly vulnerable; “a person who has been made homeless faces

enormous risks as a rough sleeper, including substance abuse, poor physical and mental

health, and acts of criminality.” Homeless people are up to 17 times more likely to be a

victim of violent crime than the general public, and 47 times more likely to be a victim of


While these statistics are deeply shocking to hear, they can also hopefully act as a spur to

practical action. Anyone can help join us in this vital work, through donations or by

becoming part of the networks of volunteers who actively support ECWNS. The shelter

volunteers at St Matthew’s (many of who had little or no previous experience) have found

participation in the shelter an immensely positive experience on many levels; why not join

them for the next season?

We are already busily planning for the next season, which will run at

the Church from February next year. New volunteers are always needed and very welcome

to “come and see.” (John 1:39)

Revd Mike Barter

(Parish Priest St Matthews and ECWNS Trustee)

“The kind of fasting I want is this: Remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free.  Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives.” (Isaiah 58: 6-7)





If you would like to donate to the work of the ECWNS, you can find the link here-


If you would like to volunteer for ECWNS-


If you interested in volunteering opportunities and helping out at St Matthew’s Night Shelter for the 2020 season,

Please contact Revd Mike on:

0208 567 3820 or  Email:


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