Thursday, 11 October 2007

My history is not my destiny, journey into freedom

Yesterday at lunchtime I walked next door to the House of Lords for a reception hosted by Baroness Kathleen Richardson on behalf of the Langley House Trust. This included the launch of their latest Annual Review "Journey into freedom". The Langley House Trust is a national Christian charity. Its mission is "to help people to lead fulfilling and crime-free lives and, in so doing, to help protect the public". The Trust provides training, accommodation, education and other appropriate services, and welcomes those of other faiths and those of none. Much of its work is with ex-offenders, and the disadvantaged homeless. For more information go to

I was very interested to hear more of the work of the Trust from the Chair of the Trustees, David Lane and members of the Senior Management Team as we milled around at the beginning of the reception. It was a surprise to see a familiar face and discover that the Treasurer is a fellow Local Preacher from the Harrow and Hillingdon Methodist Circuit.

Kathleen Richardson welcomed us and then Rt Rev Terence Brain, Bishop of Salford spoke about the work of the Trust and got us thinking using the story of the crucifixion asking which was the "good" and which the "bad" thief next to Jesus on the cross. Lots of food for thought. Four of the residents of the projects presented awards to four staff who had been nominated by residents as people who were particularly special. That was a fantastic part of the proceedings. It was interesting to see art and craft pieces by residents of the projects and gain insights into how important this work is.

It was good to see that the Methodist Church was held in high regard in relation to their support for this work. I was challenged to think about what happens in my area to help people such as ex offenders and the disadvantaged homeless. The Bishop talked about the fact that re-settlement of offenders is often something of a misnoma and that offences sometimes happened because people weren't settled before. What could I, what could you be doing to help in an area of social responsibility like this?


Sally said...

what a wonderful title, and one it might just do us all good to adopt, and in doiing so we may just learn to have more grace towards ex-offendors.
This is a very important work- thank you for highlighting it and making me think.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great to challenge local churches to become involved with the nuts and bolts of any community. Offenders are of course ordinary people, the same as we are and friendship and aceptance is something we all cry out for. It's time we got our hands dirty and got on with working alongside local agencies such as Langley etc.Many offenders offend because they do not have a nice cosy home to sit in with a church family who care about them! If we are going to be church, let's stand up and deliver or shut up and buzz off .

daniella said...

I was the Advertising and marketing officer at the Methodist Recorder from 1995 to 1996. One of main tasks was to raise the profile of the Methodist Recorder, and the Joint Church Press in as many communities as possible, and because of the nature of my job, I was always at Conference, the Christian Resources Exhibition etc. It was during this time that I built relationships with reps. of organisations such as MRDF,NCH and Paul Langley of the Langley House Trust. I remember being inspired by the work these organisations do, in particular the work with ex-offenders of varying ages at the LHT. I am so glad that they have grown from strength to strength, and I am pleased to hear that they continue to hold the Methodist Church in high regard. May God continue to bless their work.
Daniella (Notting Hill Methodist Church.)