The people and trustees of Above Us Only Sky? are a group of committed Christians who have a common vision to see the love of Jesus shared with those in need. For some of the team, working with the homeless and vulnerable has been their mission for many years, but it became apparent in 201 0 that more needed to be done to support those living on the streets. Above Us Only Sky? was set up to raise funds to provide for the immediate needs of those without shelter. The trustees signed the first constitution at just around the time that arctic conditions swept the UK. Those first donations purchased the sleeping bags that saved many lives that winter. The original team has grown significantly since the charity's inception. A group of volunteers wrap and pack the sleeping bags, while others sew labels, knit hats and gloves and perform a multitude of other tasks. Each member of the team gives their time and efforts freely; no-one claims any wages or expenses.
Alan Burnet – (Secretary) Trustee
Although Alan is in his 40s, his friends are in awe of his immense energy and zest for life. He has known Jesus since 2004, having become a Christian on an Alpha course, and loves leading small groups. He has a son Matthew & daughter Maddie and works as a Director full time in the International Transport Industry. He has been involved with getting alongside the homeless at a local shelter for some years and is now a member of teams that minister to the homeless in Westminster & Ilford. Alan's passions include wine, cooking (his Thai green curry is to die for), cocktails, travel and the finer things in life, but he also makes a decent cup of coffee and doesn't mind taking notes in his role as secretary on the board of Trustees.
Kevin Browning – (Chairman) Trustee
Kevin started his career in advertising and could even have made his name treading the boards of the West End. Instead he chose to become an ordained minister in the Church of England and joined St Luke's Church in Cranham as the Director of Pioneer Ministries in 2010. As well as working alongside the Vicar to help fulfil the wide variety of pastoral duties, Kevin has a great interest in ‘church outside the building’. He is now involved with Church Without Walls in Westminster and Ilford and spends much of his time promoting projects to take the gospel into the community. In his spare time, he helps to run a coffee shop, and in addition to his expertise in all kinds of coffee, he also has a prodigious and unsurpassed knowledge of different cheeses. Kevin is the pastor responsible for Moor Lane Church and he lives nearby with his wife, Annette, and their two sons.
Kurt Erickson – Trustee
Kurt has been a pastor for over 20 years and began his ministry with the homeless in New York in 1986. He moved to the UK in the early 199os and established Church Without Walls in Westminster in 1994. His calling is to bring the gospel to those on the streets and his ministry includes feeding and clothing, preaching, evangelism, healing, housing and befriending those in need. Over the years that he has been working on the streets of London, it is estimated that his team have shared over 40,000 cups of tea with those sleeping rough. Kurt is currently the Pastor of Eleos Church in Bethnal Green.
Roydon Hearne – Trustee
Roydon is Creative Director for an International advertising agency and has been involved in promoting Above Us Only Sky? since it's inception in 2010. He has been a Christian for many years and has attended Bethel Church in East Hanningfield since the 1980's, where he is now the pastor. He is ably supported in all his endeavours by his wife Kathryn and, although they clearly don't look old enough, they have six children and eight grandchildren. In his spare time, Roydon enjoys spending time with friends and family and has a passion for football. He has supported West Ham United since childhood and, along with his sons, he regularly experiences the joy, but more often the pain, of watching them play at the London Stadium.
Ken Perkins – (Operations Manager) Trustee
Ken has been a member of St Luke's Parish since 2007, after attending an Alpha course where he gave his life to Jesus (and every spare minute of the day). He is married with two grown-up children and has been director of a Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Company for twenty-six years. Ken is a member of the team that ministers to the homeless in Westminster at Church without Walls. He has been involved with Above us only Sky? from the beginning and is committed to showing the love of Jesus to those in need. Ken has been chosen for his role as he has an ability to spend money.........wisely!
Ron Gregory – (Treasurer) Trustee
Ron is retired from work in Computing for an Oil Company and has been a Christian and member of St Luke's Cranham for some years now. He was involved in the financing of the St Luke's rebuild 11 years ago and the purchase of Moor Lane and is now involved in the homeless at Church Without Walls in Ilford, Hope4Havering and of making up starter packs for anyone coming off the streets.
He plays golf at Upminster and a few years ago joined the bowls section (an old man's sport!) in preparation of creaking joints finding it hard to walk five miles round the golf course. Ron is also a season ticket holder at West Ham but as the theme song Bubbles goes ‘Just like my dreams they fade and die‘ so he doesn't expect too much but is ever optimistic. He gets pleasure and peace from his allotment (possibly an escape from his and Jo's four children, ten grandchildren and soon to be three great grandchildren). Life is good.
Jacqueline Fletcher – Finance and Administration
Jackie has been involved in charity finance and administration since 2001, having worked for an Essex-based children’s charity until 2010. Since then, she has taken on responsibility for the finances of Above Us Only Sky? and has also managed a supply teaching business. Until recently, Jackie was a primary school teacher but she is now in full-time charity work with grown-ups, and is trying her best not to use her teacher voice too often. She has a shocking sense of direction but on occasions has received standing ovations for her reverse parking. She became a Christian in 1998 and has been a member of Bethel Church in East Hanningfield ever since. Jackie married Steve in 2015 and between them they have three grown-up children, who live in Essex, Bermuda and Australia.
Karen Still - Trustee
Karen is a hard-working mother of three boys and works in London as a Development Surveyor. Over the last few years Karen has had a busy time not only being a working mum but managed to achieve a degree with honours in Real Estate Management. She is now studying hard to become a Chartered Surveyor. With the life she has had she says it’s a miracle she has achieved so much but proof that no matter what you have gone through in life you can overcome and achieve things you never thought possible. People can turn their lives around.
Karen was baptised in March 2017 and is now an active member of her church at St Lukes in Cranham where she discovered this charity. She has a passion to help those most in need in our world and feels if we all did a small bit to help others that would make a huge difference.
John Sparks – Trustee
John works as a Work Housing Support Officer for London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. John has been involved with AUOS for about six years now, he felt a calling to help whilst on a silent retreat in Sussex. He regularly took sleeping bags to Westminster Cathedral. He has been interested with the homeless ever since. With this in mind he joined The Sercular Franciscan Order (OFS) at Brentwood Cathedral. He will be Proffesed in 2019. He has tried to stretch AUOS involvement with The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal at Canning Town. He enjoys helping people with a spirit of the Lord. He has always found AUOS brilliant because no matter what Religion or Creed we will help everyone in need.
David Sida – Finance Manager
David joined St Luke's in 2006, and has been a Christian since his youth. He is married with three children and works from home as an electronic engineer. He has been involved with Above Us Only Sky? from the beginning, providing support, enthusiasm and ideas. He currently deals with the day-to-day finances and maintains the financial records of Above Us Only Sky?