Here follows an account of one of the most amazing ministries in the UK today. It is an outstanding example of what David Bosch calls holistic mission.
The Green Pastures charity was started by Pastor Pete Cunningham in 1999 in Southport. Pete cashed in his pension worth £6000 and bought a pair of flats and began to house and care for two homeless couples.
The mission of Green Pastures is to house marginalized and vulnerable people who have struggled to secure housing. Today Green Pastures works with 24 partners across the UK. It owns 275 properties worth £20 million.
It houses more than 400 people in Southport and other parts of the UK. In 2005 the local authority recognised that there were no longer any long-term rough sleepers in Southport! All this without ever receiving any government grants!
As well as caring for their physical needs we are sometimes given the privilege of leading our tenants to Jesus. In the last few years we have seen 27 come to faith, 19 baptised and currently 32 of our tenants and former tenants are attending Shoreline or other churches.
Green Pastures' latest project is to help formerly homeless people create sustainable businesses for themselves and others to help them get off benefits. Recently a Green Pastures house in Wigan has been rewired, plastered and had a new heating system fitted by a group of of ex-homeless men who have been trained in construction skills by The Lighthouse in Rotherham, another Green Pastures partner.
Pete's son Andrew Cunningham says,
This is such an exciting project; here we have men who were homeless, now using the skills they have been taught to make a house ready for homeless people to live in – it doesn't get any better than that.
When you see a rampant alcoholic come off the booze, get a job and start to earn his own money, there is no greater buzz.
What a great story to get people thinking about God's kingdom!