Director’s Reflection on Closure

Faith can feel a fragile and intangible thing. At times, so can community and the hope we put in one another. To open to the sense of ‘Something Bigger’ can be a little act of resistance in a world that is sometimes hard, and makes us feel alone. It takes a trust-fall.

As the closure of St Peter’s House is announced I know – for some of you – it might feel as though some of that trust and community is being lost. I know that will be painful, and I will walk with those of you who may feel loss over the coming weeks. We’ll also hold space to look back together at what we have achieved as a community, more recently with the current wonderful team and beyond that over fifty years of worship and activity at St Peter’s House. We will hold the ‘both/and’ of thanksgiving and saying goodbye.

Five years ago I began to sketch what would become Milk & Honey café. My notebook quickly filled with hopeful metaphors and early plans for a space designed to become a place of life in all its fulness for all people. There would space to breathe, trees would smile in, and beautiful green leaves would wind around a wooden structure “where the birds of the air may find shelter”[1]. People would gather round shared tables in daily moments of ‘ordinary communion’, grace conferred within these common, precious moments as we committed to see things differently. And the name ‘Milk & Honey’, of course, pointing to that vision of Shalom (or peace, or wholeness) – the belief in the intrinsic goodness of people, there being enough for everyone, in restoration, healing, full inclusion.

My belief is that we created that imagined space in Milk & Honey café together, and that this vision also ran throughout the wider work of St Peter’s House over the past 6 years. I also believe that now – as I work with our Trustees to oversee the closure of St Peter’s House – the treasures and seeds we have buried along the way will not be lost. My hope is that in ‘letting go’, we might see new shoots unfurl… perhaps even diamonds glittering as we begin to dim the lights.

Milk & Honey café will close its doors for the last time on Friday 28th July, and we will also welcome our community at The Well for their final collections that day. Those we currently support through The Well already know that our service is ending, and we are working with them and our funders to ensure that alternatives are ready.

Over the coming weeks I will write regular reflections and updates about our closure. I also know that some of you will feel anxious, and be more affected than others – don’t hesitate to contact me via our website. I would also personally request that great care, kindness, patience and compassion is shown to our dedicated and wonderful team over the coming weeks as they manage the coming changes for themselves and others.

It’s time for another trust-fall. As we close we close our doors and say goodbye, perhaps we’ll find that new leaders emerge, the community gathers around those who needs support, and we’ll discover that faith, hope and love were not so fragile after all. Let’s finish this chapter together.

[1] Matthew 13 v.32 (This was intended as a metaphor, but many actual birds were found and rescued from Milk & Honey over the years!)


St. Peter’s House Chaplaincy CIO (Charity No: 1166935)  is a small charity that works with a broad range of University and Denominational partners.  The partners are represented on a board of trustees which has responsibility for overseeing the charity.   The board ensures that SPH follows best practice and as part of that the following policies have been approved:

If you want more details about the charity please contact our chair.

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