A popular Big Issue vendor in Exeter swapped his pitch for centre-stage at the city’s cathedral as part of a discussion about homelessness.
Andrew McGarry – who sells the magazine nearby at Cathedral Green and recently visited the House of Lords as a guest of Big Issue founder Lord John Bird (below) – was interviewed by Bishop Martin Shaw during Holy Ground, an alternative worship service held monthly at the Cathedral.
What struck me was the simplicity of Andrew’s spirituality
He spoke of his faith, and his own experience of being homeless on and off for around 20 years after his time serving in the army, explaining how he is often asked by locals how they can help practically.
"I've been looking forward to this for months. No one believed I was actually coming to parliament. Here I am!"
????: Exeter vendor Andrew pic.twitter.com/u3jpLt8Okm
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) July 26, 2017
“People want to know how best they can help – they feel guilty and want to show compassion,” Andrew said. “I tell them to show practical compassion, to buy a coffee or a sandwich, and talk.”
Bishop Martin added: “What struck me was the simplicity of Andrew’s spirituality and also the simplicity of his lifestyle. Both of these seem to me to provide him with an abiding sense of hope.”