FROM midnight, there was a slow and steady rainfall, and,
although it was not quite freezing, it was a very cold night. Most
of the 24 people who slept out in the churchyard of St Peter and St
Paul, Bromley, were well equipped, with good-quality sleeping bags,
and plenty of cardboard boxes.
Among them was the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt
Revd James Langstaff (above), who was there to show
solidarity with homeless people, and to raise awareness of their
plight. "He got quite a lot of sleep," the Vicar of Bromley, the
Revd Anne Jablonski, commented. "He looked quite perky this
She was so well covered up, and had so many layers on, that she
actually had to take some off. "It was a really good event, really
good-natured," she said. "Everyone there was in good spirits on the
night, but recognised how incredibly hard it would be to have to do
the same, night after night."
Bishop Langstaff has long been involved with housing and the
problems of homelessness, and currently chairs the Trustees of
Housing Justice. "Homeless people are very often marginalised and
vulnerable," he said, "and can easily be cut off from sources of
support. . . Sleeping out [like this] in no way replicates what it
is like to be on the streets for a prolonged period, but I hope in
this way to raise awareness of the issues."