The Bishop of Chelmsford, The Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, was inspired by the latest work from street artist Banksy at a carol service in aid of HARP.
Bishop Stephen spoke at the third annual carol service held by Southend Bach Choir in support of HARP, which took place on Saturday 21st December at St John the Baptist Church in Southend-on-Sea. The service raised an incredible total of £1,944 to support services for homeless people in the town.
In his address, the Bishop spoke of Banksy’s latest artwork in Birmingham, which shows reindeer appearing to pull a bench. The artist created a short video in which a homeless person is seen to lay on the bench, making it appear that he is being flown away by the reindeer as he dreams, to a soundtrack of the song “Coming Home For Christmas.” The video has been widely praised for highlighting the plight of homeless people.
The Bishop, who has recently been announced as the next Archbishop of York, drew comparisons between the famous work of art and HARP’s work with local people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
During his speech, Bishop Stephen said: “What Banksy has achieved on a wall in Birmingham, HARP do day after day after day, giving to homeless citizens of Southend dignity and hope. And whereas Banksy’s vision is a beautiful dream, what HARP does is a hard grafted and even more beautiful reality - real people in really desperate situations being given a real start”.
Bishop Stephen encouraged the congregation to give generously to HARP and praised the Southend Bach Choir as sounding “better than ever.”
The Mayor of Southend, Councillor John Lamb, and the High Sheriff of Essex, Dr James Bettley, also read at the service, alongside representatives from HARP.