Letter: The Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter message

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The Independent Online
Sir: I read your headline on the front page of today's Independent ('Carey fuels row over gap between rich and poor') with some sadness because, if you have reported the Archbishop correctly, all he said is true in my belief. I am not a Church of England priest but a Methodist minister stationed here at Whitechapel to work among and care for the street homeless and rootless.

In the two and a half years that my wife and I have been here, we have seen the number coming through our doors increase. Many of them are mentally ill, and many more addicted to various noxious substances. The work is expensive to manage and maintain, I have to raise around pounds 100,000 per year. None of this comes from central funding; indeed, it seems to me that politicians want to close places like us.

We are also feeling the affects of another government policy, the closing of bail hostels. Windyridge at Nayland was closed on 31 March and we had to declare the staff redundant, some of whom will find it very difficult to find employment in the present climate; others also stand to lose their homes. I still feel that Windyridge had a job to do, it was a very special place.

Am I being cynical when I say that we, and our friends of the street homeless and rootless community, are not wanted?

Yours faithfully,

JOHN L. LINES

Whitechapel Mission

London, E1

4 April

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