Ending homelessness is Green Pastures’ big vision – and your church can be part of it.
That will be the message to CRE National 2019 from Pastor Pete Cunningham, Vicki Woodley and Andy Cunningham, members of a local church in Southport, who raised their own funds and purchased two flats in 1997.
‘We housed a couple with a child living in a garage, along with a single mum and child living in a derelict caravan,’ explained Pastor Pete. ‘The rest is history. We are now housing more than 1000 customers across the UK and the Lord is growing our ministry every year.’
Pastor Pete pastored several churches before taking on the small congregation in Southport in 1993.
‘At first, we provided temporary accommodation in our church building, for homeless individuals and families,’ said Pete. ‘We used our fellowship room, a converted garage and church cellar, making them as pleasant as possible. But the local environmental health department informed us we were contravening the law.’
He maintains that the years since have been some of the most wonderful they have experienced in the service of God.
‘Our first resident, a single mother aged 21, had been living in one room with her baby,’ he recalled. ‘What a joy it was to help her and fulfil God’s word. It appeared to us that the 21st Century church was not so eager to help the poor as the one we read about in the 1st Century.’
Today, Green Pastures have partners all over the UK, housing hundreds of formerly homeless people.
‘We have seen some amazing changes in people because they have a key to their own home,’ said Pete. ‘Alcoholics are free from alcohol addiction. Drug addicts are free from drug addiction. Unemployed young people with life skills problems are now working. Most wonderful of all is the number of people who have come to Christ, not through our preaching of the Gospel, but by our doing the Gospel.
‘We dream of every church in the UK having at least one house to house the homeless. That would mean an additional 100,000 people would be housed and cared for. We’ll be at CRE National 2019 and CRE Midlands 2020, showing local church leaders and members how they can join us in this exciting initiative.’
• Green Pastures will be on stand S110 at CRE National 2019