The Key to a Better Future

On 3 December Archbishop Bernard welcomed invited guests to a service of blessing at Tabor House, Birmingham’s new night shelter.

Members of the clergy, religious sisters, representatives from Father Hudson’s Care, and parishioners joined Tabor House volunteers, guests and members of the management committee for the event. On entering, all guests were given an uncut key, engraved with the name Tabor House.

His Grace thanked all in attendance, singling out Fr Bob Murphy, in whose parish Tabor House is sited, and Andy Quinn and Mairead Shaw of Father Hudson’s Care. The service opened with the hymn, ‘This is what Yahweh asks of you,’ which contains the commandment from which Father Hudson’s draws inspiration and guidance: “As I have loved you, so love one another.”

Fr Michael White, Chair of Caritas Archdiocese of Birmingham, read ‘Prayer for people experiencing homelessness’ from the Caritas prayer book. Mairead Shaw, Tabor House Co-ordinator, gave a reading from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

Steve Martin, of Tabor House’s management committee, spoke about the uncut keys that had been handed out, saying that they are keys that open no door. Just as Mary and Joseph experienced closed doors in Bethlehem, so homeless people today cannot open doors to safety and shelter. He asked those present to keep their uncut key on a keyring with their house or car keys to remember our homeless brothers and sisters. Archbishop Bernard put his with the keys to Archbishop’s House.

Archbishop Bernard then blessed Tabor House, its volunteers and guests, praying for us all to reach out to people in need.

Roy, a guest staying at Tabor House, thanked all involved in setting up Tabor House and the staff who run it. He especially praised the dedicated volunteers, saying “We’re not always easy, but we are grateful.”

Fr Michael praised the many people involved in getting Tabor House off the ground, speaking of the gifts and talents required. He thanked Father Hudson’s for their professionalism and dedication as being instrumental in initiating this and many other community projects in the Archdiocese. He gave out an information sheet and encouraged people to lend their support by making a regular donation to Tabor House.

The service closed with a second prayer from the Caritas prayer book – Prayer for the destitute.

The event was supported by City Kitchen, who provided the catering, the Artume string quartet, who entertained guests with music by Vivaldi, Handl and Corelli, and Martin the Bromsgrove Cobbler, who provided the uncut keys.

A partnership project between Father Hudson’s Care, the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, Housing Justice, St Vincent de Paul Society, Midland Heart, Birmingham Irish Association, corporate philanthropists and local homelessness specialists, Tabor House supports men and women experiencing homelessness to turn their lives around. Through practical support, friendship and advice, Tabor House works with people to move into more permanent accommodation.

It has an ongoing need for volunteers and donations of household essentials, toiletries and food. To find out more about supporting the shelter, visit