Sunday Urban Table

"What we would like to do is change the world - make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended for them to do..." (Dorothy Day)

A free meal and social time happens every Sunday from 2:30 - 4:30pm at the Round Chapel Church. We share table fellowship with homeless and marginalized people.

Volunteers are needed from 1:30pm - 5:30pm every Sunday.

The address is: Round Chapel church, Lower Clapton Road & Powerscroft Rd, Hackney, London. For more details or to join the rota, contact us.

Urban Table at the Round Chapel

Life is a banquet, even with a crust, where there is companionship

Back in 2003 we started helping out at the Sunday afternoon soup kitchen at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Kentish Town, north London. After about a year, we thought we were ready to take more responsibility. So in 2005 we started working together with the URC Round Chapel Church in Clapton. We share a simple Sunday afternoon meal of hearty soup and sandwiches, cake and fruit, tea and coffee.

Many of our guests are from the new EU countries in Eastern Europe. Some sleep rough, others live in squats. Others still are simply isolated and struggling to cope. Recently, due to a generous gift, we were able to share with our guests a (thankfully mild) chickpea curry. Simon Watson regularly brings home-made cakes, Richard from the Round Chapel provides some home baked bread, and on Christmas day we usually combine with the annual Round Chapel communal meal, and help cook a full Christmas dinner.

We struggle to communicate with our friends from Poland and elsewhere, so we have had some visitors including Polish students, and Fr Wojtek, a Polish priest learning English in London, who are able to come and listen to their stories: of sickness that prevents work: of drinking to dull the pain of despair, of the cold and of hard park benches: of shame of failure in a rich country that makes a return home unbearable: of the daily struggle to survive and to find food to eat.

If the others are like me, we are embarrassed each week at the thanks these men express: we remember the words of St Basil in the 4th Century,

“The bread you do not use is the bread of the hungry;
the garment hanging in your wardrobe belongs to him who is naked;
the shoes you do not wear are the shoes of those who are barefoot;
the money you keep locked away is the money of the poor;
the acts of charity you do not perform are so many injustices you commit.”

This work is not simply charity, it is the beginning of justice. For the poor will not get justice unless – not only do they organise to struggle for it – but also, unless the rich are open to conversion, to become willing to give it to them and give up the privileges of a comfortable life.

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Last modified: 9 July 2014