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Rich churches should open up their doors and allow homeless people to sleep safely in warmth

I am addressing this letter to all members of the clergy. I am not a biblical scholar, but my limited understanding (according to Luke 2:4-19) is that Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem, where Mary wrapped her son in cloths and placed him a manger, because there was no room at the inn.

Well, in 2016, there is still no room at the inn for society's less well-off, while the tens of thousands of practising Christians spend millions on excesses and trivia. It is time to stand up and be counted. Open up your empty churches at night and allow homeless people to sleep inside, protected from the elements by the hugely expensive structures funded, in many instances, by those who could least afford to do so.

Put mattresses and blankets on the long benches lying idle through the night, rearrange the benches so that heat can be generated by individuals in close proximity, put the many candles to good practical use and generate light and spend some of the millions of your assets in providing heat.

Do not take the easy route and quote health and safety rules and other bureaucratic reasons as an excuse for doing nothing.

Just do it and for once practise what you preach.

DAVID O'DONOVAN

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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