Resident who couldn’t read now reads at Thanksgiving

Langley resident, Chris, sat on a pew whilst waiting to speak at the Langley London thanksgiving service 2016. He is looking smart in a dark suit and glasses.

Chris getting ready to speak

It was a proud moment for Chris, one of Langley’s residents, when he read at Langley’s first thanksgiving service of the year.

Just a few years previously, he had been illiterate and homeless, He had lost everything through a gambling addiction. In his words, living on the streets was “terrible” and not an experience he ever wanted to repeat.


But the suited man who read proudly from the gospel account of Mark bore little trace of that earlier lifestyle. With Langley’s help, he overcame his gambling addiction, taught himself to read using our Toe by Toe reading skills programme and started his own landscaping business. He also now voluntarily reaches out to others who are homeless.

“If it wasn’t for Langley I would probably still be on the streets,” Chris explained. Langley had been the turning point for him.

His story is indicative of the hundreds of men and women we work with every year, whose issues with homelessness, gambling and addictions often result in crime. As with Chris, it is a case of providing the right support at the right time to successfully turn lives around.

The service was Langley’s first thanksgiving service of the year and is part of a series of regional thanksgiving events that we will be holding across the country in 2016. They recognise our Christian roots and ethos whilst we remain committed to working with people of any faith or none who are seeking to turn their lives around after crime.

The service was hosted by Emmanuel Church, Croydon. The stone-built 19th century church provided a warm welcome for Langley supporters and staff.

Reverend Andy Rider, Rector of Spitalfields, giving the main talk at the Langley London Thanksgiving Service 2016. He is standing on a small raised platform in front of a black notes stand. Behind him are three pull-up banners featuring Langley and there are also two cream leather sofas behind him, which were used earlier for an interview with a Langley resident.

Reverend Andy Rider giving the main talk

The main address was given by Reverend Andy Rider, Rector of Christ Church Spitalfields and Chaplain to Langley, who used the well-known story of the prodigal son to illustrate the importance of being given a second chance. To download the talk, click here.

Providing men and women with a second chance – and helping them to make those count – is central to Langley’s approach when working with people after crime.

The next Langley thanksgiving service will be held at Coventry Cathedral on Sunday 24th April.