Here is our Autumn Update on what’s been happening with St Andrew’s support for our three Charities, as chosen by you earlier in the year.
To start with, all three charities were contacted and informed that they had been chosen by the Congregation for three years of financial support and our desire to become engaged with each one as our resources, and their needs, allowed. All 3 charities acknowledged with gratitude our commitment.
Our International Charity is World Vision. As you know we pray for the community of Pajule in northern Uganda every Sunday and many times during the week as well. We asked for particular prayers in July/August when the drought, and interruption to food distribution due to the war in Ukraine, hit at the same time. Families were having to reduce their meals from three to two each day (which meal could you do without?) as crop yields were reduced or failed.
Our video, filmed earlier in the year, was edited by Alistair Sutcliffe and can be viewed here. It’s being sent to World Vision for onward transmission to our contacts Noah and Ivan in Pajule.
Our National Charity is the Trussell Trust. At the moment our engagement is largely through the local Bedford Food Bank, and our Foodbank donation container in the Church Centre foyer fills up week by week – thank you to everyone who donates.
This November we will be introducing a Reverse Advent Calendar. In the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children. The Trussell Trust typically sees a 45% increase in referrals for their emergency parcels in the fortnight before Christmas. At St Andrew’s we will launch the Reverse Advent Calendar on the first Sunday in November and you will be able to pick up your box and after that rather than getting a treat each day for 25 days from an Advent Calendar, you add an item of food or toiletries to your box every day. At the end of the 25 days you’ll have a sizeable food bank donation that will make a real difference to those in crisis knowing you are giving something to someone in need each day instead. This is why it’s called the Reverse Advent Calendar. We will give you all the information you need.
Our local charity is Emmaus Village Carlton. All the Mission and Outreach team went to visit, in two groups, in July, to find out more about the charity and to discuss how we can be more involved. We came away inspired, determined and reflective. We were approached in August/September to ask if we could help the family from the Ukraine who are staying in an Emmaus property. The two students in the family were without transport to get to College in Bedford. There is an hourly bus service from Carlton but we realised this might not fit in with the times the students wanted to travel. Supporting a fund for two mopeds was discussed, but Emmaus felt it was a more risky suggestion in terms of travel safety in the dark over the winter. So St Andrew’s has contributed towards funds for their bus passes to start with, along with other churches and organisations. A few people have also volunteered to drive the minibus which goes to Northampton on a Wednesday evening and Wellingborough on a Thursday evening to provide a ‘Stomp’ for people in need of warmth and food once a week. More volunteer drivers are needed, so please let us know if this is something you feel able to do – the more people on the rota the less frequently your name comes up. Just helping once a month would be great.
· Donations and Collections from our Services over the Christmas period will be for the Trussell Trust and Emmaus Village Carlton.
· In March 2023 there will be a concert at St Andrew’s to raise further funds for Emmaus. More details to follow.
Finally, St Andrew’s is beginning to branch out into Citizen’s UK involvement. Attending an initial meeting in September in Bedford, and a further one in November in Peterborough, a few of us hope to learn more about this way of working. Rebecca Stockman gave a presentation to PCC in September having been involved in a Citizen’s Assembly in her previous job in Merton, Surrey. Her expertise is proving invaluable to us. Several churches locally have indicated their wish to be involved – watch this space!
Mission and Outreach team