08 February 2018
We were very pleased to receive the following account of a ‘stable sleepover’ from All Saints Church in Holbeach...
“It’s cold and it’s cold and even if you’ve got lots of layers it is cold!”
….said one of the members of our Junior Choir the morning after their stable sleepover a few days before Christmas.
Twelve members of the Junior Choir of All Saints Church in Holbeach, with a bit of encouragement from their leaders, decided that they wanted to do a sponsored stable sleepover in aid of the church’s Christmas Charity – the homelessness charity – Crisis.
They followed their normal Friday evening choir practice with carol singing round a sheltered housing complex, accompanied by our deputy organist Kim on her accordion. This included some very special moments as we sang outside the window of one of our former choir members, and sang Silent Night at the special request of a very poorly man who was able to come to the door with his family around him and listen to us, and finally singing to those gathered for a game of cards in the community centre.
On their return to the church they did a final rehearsal for the Crib Service, which was followed by soup and hot dogs before putting down a layer of cardboard and distributing two bales of straw in the North porch in order to recreate the stable. They then enjoyed some games, a film and hot chocolate prior to putting on some layers and crawling into their sleeping bags and duvets and taking up their places in the stable – there was just room for them all plus three adults on chairs guarding the porch gates and keeping a wakeful watch over the flock by night.
Fortunately it was a relatively mild night for December but they still experienced something of the cold and the noises of sleeping outside.
Here are some of their thoughts:
“I feel really sorry for the homeless; if you were properly homeless you’d be scared.”
“You can’t get to sleep because of the traffic.”
“This experience made me feel sorry for homeless people because it was an extremely cold night, and the thought of homeless people sleeping and living like that makes me sick to my stomach. When I was asleep I was still freezing, even though I had a blanket and a thick sleeping bag. But homeless people may not even have a covering. They don’t even have a pillow, I had one, but I was still uncomfortable.”
“I was self-conscious that I might speak in my sleep.”
“I enjoyed the homeless experience, however sleeping in those conditions every day really would be terrible. I now know what it feels like to be homeless because I felt very scared and cold and I couldn’t get to sleep because of all the traffic.”
“Cold, hungry, scared and worried, when I woke up I was more tired because I was cold.”
“I don’t think that anyone should be homeless because people who are get judged even though they are people too. My experience was cold and I feel really sorry for the homeless because I did it for a night and my back hurt and I was exhausted. They have to do it all year round.”
They were fortunate enough to have more hot chocolate and bacon butties for breakfast before going home for a proper sleep, and two days later they did a brilliant job of leading the Crib Service and helping to tell the story of all the papier mache nativity figures that they had made over the course of the summer.
More information on All Saints Church in Holbeach may be found here