NighLight is a weekly project offering free hot drinks and a listening ear to those out and about at night. It's based at All Saints' and runs every Friday night from 10.00pm, closing normally by 2.00am on Saturday. It's about creating an atmosphere of hospitality, welcome, and the presence of Christ among us during the night-time hours. The prime focus is not on meeting the needs of the homeless, although they are welcome and frequently present; the hospitality is for anyone who is passing by.
Volunteers are drawn from churches of all denominations across the town, and our visitors frequently express surprise and appreciation that the churches work together like this. We serve a very wide range of people - those at work in the night-time economy as well as those out clubbing or returning home from the pub.
Some collect a drink and take it away. Some sit down at our bistro-style tables (set out during dry weather), whilst others stay at the counter to talk. Usually it's general conversation, but occasionally, deep theological questions or pastoral issues come our way. We don't claim to be able to answer or solve them all! We're here above all to accept and listen. We don't mind the cold and the wet so long as we can offer a calm, safe and welcoming presence to those passing by. Some of our volunteers have been with us since we first started in April 2008, and are still enjoying it.
Back then, a particular concern was the 'edgy' feel to the area once we'd locked up the church and gone home for the night. We wanted to make a difference to the feel of the area, and sometimes that was a challenge. Nowadays, the atmosphere is almost always good-humoured.
Hallowe'en fell on a Friday in 2014. We opened up earlier, and alongside NightLight, we ran a prayer station and gave away soul cakes. The prayers requested were offered during our 8.00am service the following Sunday. From now on, we're keeping a prayer request notebook on the NightLight counter (there's also one by the candles in the church during church opening hours). Bishop John also came to spend some time with us that night.
If you would like to find out more, or volunteer to help with NightLight, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For full volunteers, we ask that you are a regular member of a church and have a commendation from your priest or minister. For associates, we ask for a character reference; a normal team of three will include at least two full volunteers and may include an associate. All volunteers agree to work in accordance with our ethos.
We have a strict rule not to accept donations at night - for our own security, but above all because NightLight is a gift to others. If you would like to support this work, please see the Making a Donation page. Thank you.