Caravan Defined

  • A towed vehicle for staying in, a vehicle for living in;
  • a convoy, a group, a procession, a parade, a column, a line, a cavalcade;
  • a group of desert merchants with camels: a group of traders, especially in northern Africa and Asia, crossing the desert together for safety, usually with a train of camels
  • A group of travellers – a group of people, vehicles, or supervised animals that are travelling together for security.

Well, it’s a vehicle, if you must.

But just as we humans present our mask to the world, we mustn’t be fooled by first impressions.

The Caravan is, and has been, a haven through which a convoy, a group, a parade of individuals in various stages of suffering, bewilderment, soul-searching, despair – or perhaps that universal ailment, loneliness – have  taken a breath and stepped through the door of the Caravan into a quieter place. A place where they could explore their problems, make contact with another human, ‘travel together’ for a while, seek security and solace for a few precious moments until they could face the world again before going on their journey. Caravans travel from oasis to oasis, and the Caravan at St. James’s has been an oasis for many.

And now the famous old Caravan is to transform into a Shepherds Hut! It’s putting down its roots. And how wonderful that we can stay with the connection to nature. The Good Shepherd. Lamb of God. The joy lambs bring to us as they herald the start of spring and new life each year.

I never had a placement there, but as a student at CCPE, I heard of the transformational experiences my peers underwent while working there. So many hearts touched and so many people transformed forever – clients and counsellors-in-training alike – by their experiences in the Caravan in St. James’s, Piccadilly.

My very best wishes to Zak Waterman and all students past and present who contributed to this little bit of heaven in the middle of Piccadilly, London.

Lynn Somerfield