Stable One’s mission is to support the Church as it works together to share the love of God by providing accommodation to those in need. To journey with each person towards stability, offering physical and spiritual care.
More than a place to stay.
We recognize that homelessness is not just a lack of shelter. The Church is uniquely positioned and called to care for ‘the least of these’ (Matt 25:40)
- In honouring God we honour people
- We are transparent and accountable
- We treat all people with respect and dignity
- Each person matters
- We prioritise connection and inclusion
- We journey with people towards stability
- We work together as the Church
- We collaborate with Others
Stable One was born out of the personal journey of our founder, Jenny, and the prayers of the Church.
Jenny writes …
In 2016 I was studying at Bible college full time and started to volunteer one day a week at a foodbank in Lilydale. I had the privilege of meeting and assisting people who were struggling to make ends meet. I also had my eyes well and truly opened to the issue of homelessness in my community. I had no idea just how many people, who were my neighbours, were sleeping in cars, in the open, on friend’s couches, or in sheds and porches. I had lived in the Lilydale and Mount Evelyn area for eight years and was completely oblivious.
One day, during our weekly community meal, I sat across from a gentle, middle-aged, well-dressed lady who seemed a lot like me. As we talked, she was embarrassed to tell me she was sleeping in her car. I was shocked. She didn’t fit my preconceived ideas of someone who was homeless. We had a spare room in our family home and I invited her to come and stay. It worked out well and after a few months, with support from a kind landlady, she moved into a small unit.
Be the Church – work together (1 Cor 12: 27)
Fast forward to winter that year. I met another lady at the foodbank. She was around 60 years old, was unwell and had lived in her car for more than a year. I helped her with food and some clothes before we parted company. That night I struggled to sleep in my warm bed as I imagined her trying to sleep in a car whose doors no longer locked. I woke the next morning to see a carpet of frost across my garden. I went off to college to my weekly theology class where God’s Word got to work transforming my life, again. We talked about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We read:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
— Matthew 16:24, New International Version
God spoke to me in that moment. I knew I had to try to do something to help this lady, and others like her. I cried my way through the rest of class. I knew it would cost me.
I came home, invited her to our house for the weekend, and arranged a prayer meeting for the Monday night. My amazing husband and I spent the next two days listening to story after story about the journey of homelessness. Our new friend gained some respite from the cold and ate some good food, while we learned some valuable lessons.
Love Like Jesus (Matthew 25:35-40)
The next night, fifteen friends filled our house with prayer. We asked God what we could DO to make a difference. We continued to pray and listen and invited others to join us. We grew into a thoroughly ecumenical group representing many different churches in our area. We believed God was showing us three things: Be the Church – work together (1 Cor 12: 27), Love Like Jesus (Matthew 25:35-40), He cares about the ‘one’. If you only help one person, it’s still worth trying (Luke 15).
I began to do some research. I knew there were many organisations offering help to people who are experiencing homelessness. In fact, I discovered there were 26 emergency relief services in our area alone, offering food parcels, meals, clothing, assistance with bills, etc. I talked to welfare agencies, to the local council, and I scoured the internet. I discovered there was a shortage of crisis, medium and long-term housing. The social housing waiting list in our area is about 20 years long for those who are eligible. Accommodation was the gap that we believed God wanted us to focus on.
I continued to call people together regularly to pray and our group grew. God’s answer began to come in the form of people who had different experiences and knowledge of schemes in other places around the world. Three different schemes, in three different countries were brought to our attention, all doing similar things – offering crisis shelter to people experiencing homelessness using church buildings. I talked to people in the US and the UK who had helped to start up programmes and who were still working through these programmes. They shared information and resources with me. I shared the vision with local pastors who were enthusiastic about trialling such a scheme, and plans were begun for a Winter Night Shelter pilot project in the winter of 2017.
He cares about the ‘one’.
If you only help one person, it’s still worth trying (Luke 15)
Stable One was formed at the end of 2016 with the express purpose of helping the Church to do the things we believe God showed us. We registered as a charity with the ACNC and obtained Deductable Gift Recipient status. We worked hard on research, policy development and logistics and were ready to open on 1 June 2017 with 165 trained volunteers.
Of course, the Church is more than just a building. The Shelter offers more than just a place to stay. The Church is all about relationship – with God and his family. We want there to be this offer of relationship as we welcome, care and demonstrate the love of Jesus to people. We desire to journey with them and seek a more stable future for them.
Stable One was born out of prayer, and that is how we will continue to operate. We want to follow God, one step at a time. We have dreams for other projects in the future and are waiting on his leading.
Since we began, I have met many more people experiencing homelessness. Their stories, their courage, their resilience and their hearts inspire me. Seeing the Church respond to their needs and show God’s love for them in such practical ways fills me with joy.
Why Stable One?
This name came from those who met together for prayer in August 2016, though they didn’t know it at the time. There was a real sense that evening that the task was too huge for us to solve, but that it was okay if we only helped just one person. God confirmed that message to us in the next few days and weeks through different people and through scripture.
Particularly we read the story of the lost sheep. Read it here.
The word ‘stable’ represents not only the place where the Messiah was born, but also a state of being.
For those experiencing homelessness, stability is crucial to their well-being. Not just in terms of a place to live, but in terms of strong foundations on which to build. As Christians, we believe that the firmest foundation on which to build a life is Jesus Christ. He is the Stable One.
We want to offer people more than just a roof over their heads and a bed for the night. We are the church. We are a community, a family. We have the opportunity to build relationships with people who are often lonely and isolated, and to love them like Jesus.
Rev Philip King
Board Director (Treasurer)
Board Director (Secretary)
Dr David Wilson