News from the J&P Group

7 December 2021

SCIAF Real Gifts

SCIAF Real Gifts – Thank You

A big thanks to all who bought SCIAF Real Gift presents. As we mentioned, previously, jointly between the J&P Group and out two parishes, we raised £1088 for Water for a Village.

In addition, from the sale of the gift cards after the Masses this last two weekends and also at the December Fayre, you contributed a further £1073.

And finally, a parishioner of St Mary Magdalene’s, who prefers to keep their shining light under a bushel, purchased the gift of Water for a Village, a further £1088 (Gift Aided, so we can claim an additional £272 back from the taxman next year, to help with the cost of providing meals for the Bethany Overnight Welcome Centre etc)

So, in total, we have been able to send off to SCIAF £3249 this Advent to help the lives of the people whom SCIAF support. Thank you again.

(PS. SCIAF Real Gifts are still available to purchase online at

24 November 2021

Bethany Christian Trust

One Donation, Double the Beds!

Next week on #givingtuesday, we would love you to join us and help Buy double the Beds! Every donation to Buy a Bed next week will be doubled by The Big Give initiative, until we reach our target of £20,000.

It’s the very first time we’ve taken part in the Big Give’s Christmas challenge and we’re so excited that your donations will have double the impact.

From 30th November to 7th December every £21 you donate towards Buy a Bed will be doubled, enabling the Welcome Centre to provide two people with a warm bed, hot food and individualised support to move on into more permanent accommodation. That’s one donation, double the impact!

In return, you can get a beautiful Christmas card to keep or give to your friends and family, showing that a bed has been purchased on their behalf.

Together we can end homelessness in Scotland, two people at a time.

Donate via or to Jim Roarty or any member of the Justice & Peace Group

A big THANK YOU for your response to our “Water for a Village” appeal – SCIAF’s Real Gift of clean water for drinking and irrigation for villages who presently do not have access to it. The total cost of the Real Gift was £1088; the Justice & Peace Group covered half of it and members of our two parishes have very quickly donated the other £544 so a cheque has been sent off to SCIAF from our two parishes for £1088. Thank you again for your generosity.

And, while we are on the subject of SCIAF, there will be a Real Gift stall after all Masses this weekend and next as well as at the Christmas Fayre on Saturday 4 December, so, if you are struggling for Christmas presents, look no further!

27 October 2021

Christmas 2021

Christmas Presents!

It seems very early to be talking about Christmas when we are just about to have Hallowe’en but unless you have been locked up in the house for the last few weeks with the television off, it is difficult to avoid Christmas-related adverts. So, the J&P Group, wanting to be in the swing of things, would like to offer you a few adverts of their own to help you spend your money!

Bethany Buy-a-Bed: Looking for a present with purpose? Consider Buying a Bed this Christmas. For every £21 you donate through this campaign, the Welcome Centre will provide a person with a warm bed, hot food and individualised support to move on into more permanent accommodation.

In return, you will receive your choice of a physical or e-card that you can give to your friends or family members as an ethical Christmas present or as a keepsake for yourself. There is also colouring-in activity to include if this gift is for a child.

Go to or give your donation to Jim Roarty or any member of the J&P Group who will arrange.

SCIAF Real Gifts: Bring joy not only to your loved ones but also to families living in poverty. Who can resist getting a flock of chickens or a pair of pigs for Christmas! Three ways to do this:

1. Go online to

2. Wait for the catalogues becoming available and order from the catalogue

3. Real Gifts stall; As we did before Covid intervened, we will be setting up a stall to sell Real Gifts (gift cards – not real animals!) at the beginning of December.

Mary’s Meals have a range of offerings at

Gift cards In return for £15.90 - enough to feed a child with Mary’s Meals for a whole school year - you will receive this beautiful card for you to pass on to a loved one.

Mary’s Meals t-shirts £15.90 each. Wearing one of our t-shirts is a wonderful way to raise awareness of our work wherever you are

Plates or mugs A donation of £50 is enough to provide 250 children with a mug or a plate. This is a cherished possession for the children we serve, allowing them to receive a life-changing daily meal.

20 October 2021

A Message from The Bethany Care Van Team

Clothes for Homeless

Teams of our parishioners go out on the Bethany Care Van to hand out sandwiches (normally Pret a Manger leftovers) to people on the street. Recently, some of our "customers" suggested that it would be helpful if we had clothes to donate as well.

They said there are normally plenty of scarves, gloves and hats. What they would find really useful as well is socks and pants, t-shirts, joggers, waterproof jackets, and trainers / winter boots.

If you would like to help with this, please leave your donation (underpants not pre-worn!) labelled "Care Van" at the back of the church and our Care Van teams will take them for distribution on the days we are doing it.

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! "