A Baptist church in Great Britain will open a house for women as they leave a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
Norwich Central Baptist Church, about 100 miles northeast of London, will open a house it owns in September as a transitional accommodation for women from Hebron House, a Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.

It’s a partnership with Hope into Action, a charity that enables churches to provide accommodation for the vulnerable.

Hope into Action will provide professional support, with the church providing the temporary accommodation for two women as well as friendship, practical help and volunteer opportunities.

Mark Fairweather Tall, a minister at Norwich Central Baptist, explained it was a continuation of the close links the church has had with Hebron House.

“We were looking at other ways of supporting Hebron House. What really changed was government support being cut from six months to three months,” Tall said.

“Moving on from Hebron House at the end of the program can be a difficult experience as the transition is so great,” he said.

“So we’ve been in talks with Hope into Action for about a year, and our property, which is currently being rented out to a private tenant until the end of August, will then be used as move-on accommodation and offer a further stage of care to the women.”

It’s the latest partnership with a local church for Hope in Action, which quotes Isaiah 58 and Acts 4 on its website and was founded around two years ago.

The charity’s model involves a church using its investment capacity to acquire a house, which will then support two people in a vulnerable situation.

The rent or housing benefit pays a return on the investment. The charity provides the professional support, with the church providing community, nonjudgemental relationships, practical support and prayer.

In this way the church, using its own resources, is able to “holistically support people in their community who are in a vulnerable situation,” according to the charity. It now has links with around 10 churches from several denominations.

Noel Garner, operations and marketing director, said it facilitates churches that wish to offer care for the vulnerable.

“The key to how we operate is the people themselves. If there is a small core of people with the will to do this, the rest can fall into place.”

For Tall, the partnership with both Hebron House and now Hope into Action strikes at the heart of the church. “I am excited about the project because it fits in so well with who we hope to be as a church,” he said.

“Every person matters to God and this is a chance to reflect His love and show that we care,” Tall said.

“God transforms lives bringing hope where once there was despair. We have the privilege of being called to engage in this process and our hope is that using the house in this way will be a small step in demonstrating God’s Good News for all.”

For more information about Hope into Action, visit HopeIntoAction.org.uk.

This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.

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