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Last Updated: Monday, 7 July, 2003, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
The slamdunk monks of Canning Town
The Gray Friars, six Franciscan monks from the Bronx, have set up a mission in one of the poorest areas of London's East End
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The Gray Friars, six Franciscan monks from the Bronx, have set up a mission in one of the poorest areas of London's East End
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"We look odd and people are afraid of what looks odd," says Brother John Paul. "People were stand-offish, but now it's great."
The friars open their doors to 30 homeless people.
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The friars open their doors to 30 homeless people. "Poverty here isn't a lack of food, it's not having friendship."
The friars live simply and rely on donations to put a roof over their own heads and to offer shelter and food to others
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The friars live simply and rely on donations to put a roof over their own heads and to offer shelter and food to others
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"We don't have to worry about exterior things. Nike and Adidas. We can pay more attention to the internal. That brings joy."
Brother Nicholas, a lifelong basketball fan, decided to set up coaching sessions for local boys. Rule 1: No swearing
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Brother Nicholas, a lifelong basketball fan, decided to set up coaching sessions for local boys. Rule 1: No swearing
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"It brings people together who wouldn't normally meet. We don't say it, but what we're teaching them is to respect others."
Now the friars' team has begun to play competitively in
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Now the friars' team has begun to play competitively in "proper matches". "It's wonderful!"





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