News from the J&P Group

9 September 2021

A Message from Mary's Meals

An Incredible Milestone

An Incredible Milestone – 2 Million reasons to smile

Our vision at Mary’s Meals is simple – that every child receives one daily meal in their place of education and that all those who have more than they need, share with those who lack even the most basic things.

Our faith in the simple idea that food can change the story for the world’s poorest children remains strong and true almost 20 years after our founder Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow embarked on this astonishing journey.

Thanks to the incredible commitment and dedication of our supporters, volunteers, partners and staff in the UK and around the world we are thrilled to announce that we are now providing more than two million children in some of the world’s poorest communities with a nutritious meal every day they attend school.

This global movement and the meals we serve are making such a huge difference to millions of lives already, but there are many more children waiting. Together we can continue to bring hope in the face of hunger as we move beyond this milestone. Please continue to walk with us as we strive to reach the next child.

For more information, go to

2 September 2021

A Message from The Bethany Christian Trust


Several lunchtimes during the week, the Bethany Cate Van distributes sandwiches to people in need on the street. These sandwiches are provided by Pret a Manger - basically what they have left over at the close of business. From time to time, Bethany sends out requests for people to uplift the sandwiches from the shops at closing time and take them to their depot in Jane St, Leith for the Care Van next day.

If you are interested in helping with this, please let Jim Roarty know ( tel 07719952472).

This would be an occasional commitment and obviously dependent on availability

11 August 2021

A Message from The Bethany Christian Trust

Overnight Welcome Centre

Bethany Christian Trust provides accommodation for homeless people sleeping rough during the winter (from October to April). Previously, the organisation had its own premises with 75 beds crammed close together in a converted church but obviously, with the onset of Covid, this was not acceptable so, with the support of Edinburgh City Council, Bethany has used been using hotels. This winter, as last year, they will be using the Haymarket Hub hotel, directly opposite Haymarket Station. It will be open between 4 October and 1 May.

The Homeless people using the overnight Welcome Centre are offered a hot meal and this is provided by church volunteers from around the city who prepare and serve it. Our parishes have been involved with this project for several years and last winter we were able to provide the meal on 15 occasions despite the fact that a number of our usual volunteers couldn’t participate because of the need to shield etc.

To simplify the process, we order the meals from Apetito, a catering company, and these just need heating. Unfortunately, there is not a suitable kitchen at the Welcome Centre so we will be using a local church’s kitchen to prepare the food then transport it to the Welcome Centre. The meal service starts at 8.30pm (with the volunteers doing the serving arriving about 7.30pm) and we are generally finished and away by 11pm.

If anyone would like to offer their services for one or two evenings (or more!), please contact Jim Roarty ( tel 07719952472). An early reply would be appreciated as we will have to let Bethany know how many nights we can take on.

30 July 2021

A Message from The Bethany Christian Trust

The Bethany Christian Trust Welcome Centre will be reopening on the 4th October 2021.

We are looking to recruit our biggest team yet and we are looking for some help from our volunteers with this, whether that be sharing the following information with someone you know or prayerfully considering the position for yourself.

We are looking for people with a live and active faith who would love to serve people who are homeless in Edinburgh.

Applicants must be aged over 21 and applications close on the 18th August, with interviews being held on 23rd and 24th August.

More information on how to apply can be found at and select "Jobs"

Kind regards

The Welcome Centre team

29 July 2021

A Message from Edinburgh Street Pastors

Street Pastors began in London in 2003 when Christian volunteers began to go onto the streets at night to listen, care and help anyone in need in the name of Christ. Such has been the effectiveness of this ministry in providing personal help and reducing crime that it is now a UK-wide organisation. Edinburgh Street Pastors was established in 2009. We patrol the city streets on Friday and Saturday nights, and have 60 volunteers representing over 30 local churches.

We are delighted to be back on the streets again after months of lockdown and are now recruiting for new volunteers. Training will take place on the weekends of 24th to 26th September and 8th to 10th October 2021 and will be run on the Friday evening, Saturday part day and Sunday afternoon of both weekends.

If you are interested please email or call 07523 267 906

For background information see

27 July 2021

Mary’s Meals: how you can help

in triplicate!

By the end of last year, Mary’s Meals was feeding over 1.8 million children in 19 countries at an average of cost of £15.90 per child per year. The pandemic, which resulted in thousands of schools closing, meant hat different ways had to be devised to get the food to the children in as safe way but despite this, Mary’s Meals increased by over 170,000 the number of children being supported by the end of 2020. For this year, with our help, the aim is to feed over 2 million children – a huge number yet still only scratching the surface of the need.

Become a monthly giver before 31 August 2021 and your first three donations will be tripled thanks to a group of generous supporters, who have promised to make funds available up to £100,000. Help us access all the funds by setting up a Direct Debit today and the impact of your kindness will go three times further.

13 May 2021

Bethany Overnight Welcome Centre

End of Season Report

Jim Roarty writes: "As most of you know, Bethany Christian Trust provides overnight accommodation – the Overnight Welcome Centre - for rough sleepers. Our two parishes, along with Christian churches from all over Edinburgh provide a hot meal for the people using this overnight accommodation, with our Justice & Peace Group covering the cost of the food.

The Bethany Overnight Welcome Centre finally closed for the season on Sunday 2 May. The change of name is interesting – previously it was the Night Shelter but that didn’t reflect the range of services provided such as doctors, social workers, community psychiatric nurses and other professionals able to provide support to homeless people using the Welcome Centre.

When Covid arrived last year, the converted church at Gorgie with its 75 beds crammed together was obviously not suitable so, in partnership with the City Council, Bethany moved the Centre to a hotel, enabling the guests to have individual rooms. This season, the Centre was housed in the Haymarket Hub Hotel. One of the other effects of the pandemic was that it concentrated the minds on finding accommodation for the homeless so that the numbers using the Welcome Centre were lower than they had been.

The Haymarket Hub Hotel kitchen was unsuitable for preparing meals so we had to use the kitchen at the Central Church, Tollcross and later Gorgie Dalry Church at Tynecastle.

Our parishes have been blessed by the number of volunteers to assist in this work but obviously, with many people having to shield because of age or illness, we lost a lot of pairs of hands. Three things came to the rescue:

- The eating area at the Welcome Centre was small and with only one guest per table to maintain social distancing, the number of volunteers required to serve the tables was reduced.

- We started buying meals from a company called Apetito (who generously donated the food on some occasions) which were easier to cook – saving all the hassle of buying and preparing food.

- Seton Steele from Apetito volunteered to do the cooking for us which, apart from a couple of nights when he had to be elsewhere, he did on everyone one of our nights. This meant that we only had to find two volunteers to serve the tables. It is hard to underestimate how much simpler the whole process became because of Seton’s wonderful contribution.

At the start of the season, we volunteered to do 10 nights (there was a slight nervousness about how the pandemic would affect us) then when Bethany issued an SOS because of teams dropping out earlier this year, we took on another 4 nights.

Over and above our volunteers who gave their time, a big thanks to all who have contributed financially to support the Welcome Centre – our two parishes contributed £1630 to Bethany for the work of the Centre as well as £610 to the J&P Group towards the cost of providing the food.

So, a big THANK YOU to all who have contributed, be it time and/or money, and watch this space for next season – October is not far away!"

12 May 2021

Global week of prayer for China

23 – 30 May 2021

Cardinal Charles Bo, president of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences, has set May 23-30 as a week of prayer for China.

Maria Igoe and Jim Roarty write: " “We should ask Our Lady of Sheshan to protect all humanity and therefore the dignity of each and every person in China, in the words of Pope Benedict’s prayer, to believe, to hope, to love,” Cardinal Bo said in a March 14 statement. “It is right that we should pray not only for the church but for all persons in the People’s Republic of China.”

He said he was expressing his love for the people of China, his respect for their ancient civilization and extraordinary economic growth. “My hope is that as it continues to rise as a global power, it may become a force for good and a protector of the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world,” Cardinal Bo noted.

Echoing Cardinal Bo’s words, as it continues to grow in power, China has the potential to become a force for good but that will require a change of heart in relation to such things as the persecution of the Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, the crushing of democratic rights in Hong Kong and the persecution of Christians – a lot to pray for! "