Tuesday 6th December was an important date in the BFCS calendar – the Carol Service for Crisis, the charity for the homeless. This event, held at St Martin’s in the Bull Ring, has become a regular fixture for our choir, and we are pleased to help to swell the congregational singing, and to perform a couple of Christmas carols too.
The stories of the Crisis members are very moving, reminding us how homelessness can affect people from all walks of life. It is sobering to reflect on how the situation is still as bad as ever, and the charity’s initial aim to end homelessness is as far away as ever. It is, however, inspiring to hear how Crisis can help people with training to get back into work, as well as help with benefits and finding accommodation.
Thanks to the staff of Crisis for sharing photos and these two videos – one from the service and one from their Christmas Hamper distribution project (both with a background of BFCS singing ‘Ding dong merrily on high’.)
St Martin’s in the Bullring was the venue for the ‘Crisis’ Carol Service on Tuesday evening. Birmingham Festival Choral Society was pleased to support this worthwhile charity by leading the carol singing in the service.
Our recent connection with Crisis had started two years ago, when they were the chosen charity for our Christmas Carol Concert. We were moved by the stories we heard of the work of the charity, so we were pleased to take up their invitation to lead the singing at their 2017 and 2018 Carol Services.
Last year we heard how Crisis had been set up in 1967 with the aim of ending homelessness, and had no idea that they would still be so badly needed 50 years later. This year, the Chief Executive told us that they have prepared a plan documenting how homelessness could be ended in 10 years, if the politicians have the will to make it happen. The charity will keep lobbying to keep up the pressure.
The rector of St Martin’s, Revd Jeremy Allcock, spoke about how the Christian gospel should lead to an ‘open hand, open heart and open door’.
The stories told by clients were very moving, and reminded us that the loss of a home can be caused by all sorts of circumstances , and affect people of all ages. We heard how the charity helps people with substance abuse, and provides training to help people get into employment, and learn domestic skills.
We enjoyed singing the familiar Christmas carols, adding descants too. BFCS also sang ‘Away in a Manger’ to the Jacques tune, and a rousing ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ at the end. Singing “we all want some figgy pudding” led very naturally to refreshments at the back of the church, and a chance for singers to chat to people involved in the charity and give to the collection. The evening had been thought-provoking, and reminded us how fortunate we are to have our own homes to return to.
Last night, BFCS singers led the singing at the Crisis UK 50th anniversary Carol Service in St Martin in the Bull Ring.
We heard stories of despair and hope from people who had been helped by the charity, and saw a video of their trip to London to record a new fund raising version of ‘Streets of London’ with Ralph McTell and Annie Lennox.
50 years ago, when ‘Streets of London’ was in the charts, ‘Crisis’ was set up to raise awareness of the problem of homelessness. The aim was to make it a thing of the past. They could not have foreseen that in 2017 the problem would be greater than ever.
We were pleased to support this much needed charity.
The friendly Birmingham choir singing the world's best choral music.
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