During Advent, people across the diocese are giving up a night of comfort and sleeping out with their friends, families, church groups, clubs and community groups.
Among them was Bishop Toby Howarth (pictured right) who joined the Advent Sleep Out Challenge in West Bowling, Bradford last Friday, December 9th.
At East Cowton near Richmond (in the Ripon Episcopal Area), Stephen Cooke one of the winners at the Hambleton District Community Awards, 2016, is again leading the Advent Sleep Out Challenge with members of the church youth group.
Meanwhile All Saints Ilkley (Bradford EA) held a Sleepout on Friday December 9th .
The Advent Sleepout Challenge is a national, sponsored event, organised by the Church Urban Fund to help marginalised people across England transform their lives and communities.
Bishop Toby says he joined the challenge to raise awareness of homelessness and to raise money for the Wellsprings Together network, which he chairs, and the Church Urban Fund.
He said, "Sleeping rough for a night for the Big Advent Sleepout is about giving me the opportunity - and may encourage others - to see my city through different eyes. I also hope to raise some money for Wellsprings and the Church Urban Fund as we together seek to be alongside and serve the most vulnerable in our neighbourhoods. Thanks so much to all who are sponsoring us!"
Homeless at Christmas - Bishop Toby's Yorkshire Post message Bishop Toby writes about the challenge of homelessness and his own experience of sleeping out in this week's Yorkshire Post.
Despite East Cowton being in a very small North Yorkshire village, the 20 young people who took part last year were among the top fundraisers for the Sleepout Challenge 2015 across the country.
Youth group leader, Steve Cooke, said, “I want to make sure the night would be something to remember. We’ll start by turning North Yorkshire into a Sydney beach by hosting a Christmas BBQ.
“We’re going to raise some extra money by inviting parents and others from the village to buy tickets to come and join us for this.
“Then we’ll get down to the serious business. We’re going to head down to the woods and start building shelters like we did last year. Once we’ve built the shelters, weather permitting, we’ll hop inside them and hope for a bit of kip.”
All Saints Ilkley (Bradford EA) held a Sleepout this Friday, December 9th . Young people from the church will be taking part in a programme of activities exploring the advent story alongside the growing issues of homelessness and poverty across the Bradford District. Money raised at Ilkley will be shared between Wellspings Together Bradford and the work of the Church Urban Fund in the Bradford District.
The Advent Sleepout Challenge is a national, sponsored event porganised by the Church Urban Fund to help marginalised people across England transform their lives and communities.
There are also Sleep Out Challenge events at Cleckheaton, Sowerby , Wrose, and Leeds – find out more here.