The Church gives 12.5% of all planned giving to seven selected missions. These are:-
Ruth Sayers will be coming to visit us at St John’s on Sunday 9th July to talk about her work in Plymouth, Devon. For the past 3 years she has been has been serving with Church Mission Society in Barne Barton but prior to that spent many years working in Jordan and the Middle East.
Ruth believes the experience she gained overseas was part of God’s plan to prepare her for Plymouth – which she describes as her hardest mission field so far. Despite being in picturesque Devon, the area faces real deprivation – high unemployment, low wages and prohibitive property prices.
St John’s Missions Committee
A huge THANK YOU to everyone for the support you gave to The Children’s Society last month. The total donations received was an amazing £336, much of which was given at the Open Garden event. This amount exceeded all my expectations and I am grateful to everyone for their incredible generosity.
Embrace supports transformational projects in the Middle East which help vulnerable and marginalised people to achieve their potential.
They work through the historic Christian communities of the region, who for two thousand years have been 'salt and light' to the people they serve.
Their vision: Lives and communities in the Middle East transformed by the compassion of Christ.
Their mission: To partner with Middle East Christians as they bring healing and hope to all who face poverty and injustice.
In their 2016-2020 strategy, Faith in action, you can read how they will build stronger relationships with their Christian partners, expand into new countries, help more disadvantaged people, challenge poverty and injustice and inspire churches, volunteers and supporters to join them to:
- Transform the lives of vulnerable and marginalised people across the Middle East, enabling them to live life in all its fullness
- Strengthen and encourage Middle East Christians as they bring about positive change in their communities
- Challenge injustice, poverty and exclusion in the Middle East through targeted advocacy and campaigning.
Mission Representative for Embrace the Middle East
At the March meeting of the Missions Committee it was decided that every two months there will be a focus on one of the mission charities supported by St John’s. This month the focus is on The Children’s Society which means you will be able to find out much more about The Children’s Society and how you can help support their vital work. There will be a display in the foyer with lots of information and, on Sunday 7th May, there will be a speaker representing The Children’s Society who will tell us a lot more about what they do. In addition, Ken and I invite you to visit our garden on Saturday 20th May where we will be serving refreshments in aid of The Children’s Society - further details will be available nearer the time.
So what exactly does The Children’s Society do?
They fight child poverty on several fronts:
- By nurturing children in their early years through children's centres and other services.
- By strengthening families through providing advice, information and family support.
- By providing a lifeline for destitute families, including the very basics for survival.
- By running a major campaign to expose the damage that debt causes to children’s lives.
- By supporting families out of the debt trap by providing practical debt advice in their children's centres.
- By supporting young people on The Children's Commission on Poverty to investigate and expose the real impact that poverty has on children's lives.
- By forging major alliances with many other groups, to increase their influence and expertise to bring about even greater change.
- By lobbying local and national decision-makers around poverty, destitution and welfare reform.
They tackle neglect and support victims directly:
- By helping hundreds of thousands of young carers have a proper childhood.
- By providing support for young runaways and victims of sexual exploitation.
- By supporting and speaking out for unaccompanied asylum-seekers and victims of trafficking.
- By supporting families to support teenagers at risk of harm.
- By providing immediate help to tackle parental and teenage substance misuse.
- By providing life-changing therapy and counselling for teenagers and young adults struggling with mental and emotional health issues.
How can you help?
Unlike those that receive a fixed share of the church’s annual income, money is raised for The Children’s Society here at St John’s in several ways:
- through the annual Christingle Service
- sale of Christmas Cards
- house collection boxes
- community boxes
- ad-hoc fundraising activities
Currently there are almost 40 members of our congregation who have a house collection box. Once a year I empty these boxes of loose change and am amazed at how much we manage to collect. In 2016 we collected over £600. It really is a matter of every penny counts! So, if you haven’t yet got a box, please contact me and I can arrange to give you one.
In addition to the individual house collection boxes, you can also purchase The Children’s Society Christmas cards off me and support the annual Christingle service and ad hoc events such as our Open Garden on the 20th May.
The work of The Children’s Society is as important now as it has ever been. Many thanks to everyone who already give so generously of their time and money, and please do take every opportunity to continue this support through prayer and giving.
(St John’s Representative for The Children’s Society
The Bible Society is one of the Missions that we support at St. John’s. It was started in 1804 and operates in more than 200 countries. Its aim is to make the bible heard everywhere through a global alliance of supporters, churches and other organisations.
Since 2014, the Bible Society has been at the forefront of the relief effort in the Middle East. Refugees are longing to hear God’s voice amid their suffering and loss, and the demand for the bible and spiritual support is high. The bible’s message of love, hope and forgiveness is very helpful in times of crisis.
In Jordan, The Bible Society visits refugees and provides them with food, water and bibles as they cannot legally work. There are only 7 members of the Society in Jordan, but they work with other volunteers to help the 1.5 million refugees fleeing from Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Egypt. The Bible Society also runs trauma healing sessions which use bible stories to help traumatised refugees.
Please pray especially for the refugees all over the world, for the expansion of bible distribution, literacy programmes, and for the safety of the growing team of Bible Society workers everywhere as they go about their important work.
Bible Society Representative at St. John’s
The Leprosy Mission is one of the missions that we support here at St Johns. The money that they receive from us is vital to help those affected by Leprosy. The mission is very appreciative of our support.
Beginning in an Anglican Church prayer meeting in Dublin 140 years ago it is now an international Christian medical and development organisation working in 30 of the world’s poorest countries.
Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases known to mankind and people with leprosy have been stigmatized and considered to be at the extreme margins of the society.The disease affects mainly the skin, peripheral nerves, upper respiratory tract and the eyes. It damages the nerves on the skin’s surface leaving it without sensation or pain. As no pain is felt burns to fingers and ulcers caused by stepping on stones or glass go unnoticed and can lead to amputation, muscle paralysis and other disabilities. Blindness is also a common consequence caused by the inability to detect grit in the eye.
Leprosy rates would be significantly reduced in the world today were it not still shrouded in age-old stigma. Three million people would not be living with irreversible disabilities as a result of late treatment of the disease.
The Corrymeela Community is a charity based in Northern Ireland and is supported by St John’s. The main centre is based in a small seaside town called Ballycastle and it sits on top of a hill looking out onto the sea. This is a perfect location to share the Corrymeela message of Peace and reconciliation, one translation of Corrymeela actually means ‘Hill of Harmony’. The values and goals of Corrymeela are to love all, work together and not judge those different from our selves.
March the 17th, saw a St Patrick’s day sale in aid of Corrymeela at the Baptist church in Crowthorne. The event was well attended by the Crowthorne community. This ran during the normal churches together coffee morning at the Baptist church, where you could get anything from Cakes to books. Those who attended said it was a lovely event in aid of a wonderful charity.
This April Ian Gilchrist, a representative will be coming to St. John’s to talk about Corrymeela. He will be here at both the 8am and 10am service on the 17th of April.
This charity supports many young patients and families through the important transition from children’s palliative care to young adults’ hospice care. Douglas house is able to provide expert medical care in a more appropriate setting for children entering adulthood.
Children, young adults and their families from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Wiltshire and parts of London rely almost entirely on Helen & Douglas House for specialist hospice care and practical and emotional support.
Only with the ongoing support of people in the community, can they provide the reassurance of specialist hospice care for families and patients, now and in the future.
This service is developing Berkshire’s very own local children’s hospice service. They currently fund Alexander’s nurses who support families across Berkshire in their own homes, providing much needed respite. This service is unique because they work very closely with all local NHS hospitals so that families receive a ‘joined-up service’. The charity was founded in 2007 by the parents of Alexander Devine. In November 2001, 4 year old Alexander was diagnosed with a brain tumour, he then endured 4 and a half years of operations, treatments and therapy and sadly died at the age of eight. His parents realised that Berkshire needed its own Children’s Hospice and set about raising the money to provide one. It has been an amazing journey and preparing the site for building started on September 23rd last year, off Woodlands Park Avenue, Maidenhead.
17th March at the Baptist Church
10.30 am to 12.00 noon
Please come along and support this worthy event to be held by Churches Together in Crowthorne in aid of Corrymeela.
Donations of new toiletries and/or new & 'good as new' bric a brac' & books can be left in the marked box in the church lobby. Please bring cake donations
to the Baptist Church on the day.
Thanks to your generosity, the Giving tree this year raised a tremendous £445 to support the work of Nick Russell of the Church Army. Nick and his team work tirelessly with often very challenging children and young people tackling issues like drug abuse, criminal behaviour, debt and homelessness. The Missions committee like to send this money to Nick at Christmas to provide children’s parties, presents and food hampers. Christmas is often a difficult time for the children as they don’t get their free school meals and often the expensive presents they were given for Christmas by their parents end up being pawned a few days later.
As part of our regular giving, St Johns supports the work of the Church Army as they live and work long term within the deprived communities they serve. Below I include part of the annual newsletter I receive from Nick, which highlights the importance of the work that the Church Army does in very challenging circumstances.
“Many of our young people have parents with drug or mental health problems and have suffered abuse and neglect. Deep down they are highly anxious and fearful, often with anger problems from their experiences as helpless victims of harshness and violence as infants. They often end up in the care system.
The children who come to our 3 Superkidz clubs face increasing disadvantages. When we visit their homes we frequently find no carpets, dilapidated furniture, no computer equipment to help with homework, which so often demands internet access these days, and few if any books. We use puppet stories to encourage the children to battle against the odds in the unequal struggle to improve their lives and achieve. We also use stories to help them appreciate their value as individuals when wider society with its emphasis on expensive clothing and goods as a means to status unwittingly devalues them and reduces their confidence and self-esteem. Even more important is demonstrating the love of God through our relationships, attitude and behaviour, and helping children to feel secure and believe in their value. Anxiety and low self-esteem are a constant force at work in so many we meet. Many turn to cannabis to relieve anxiety and to cocaine for a short-lived feeling of confidence. We are also constantly teaching perseverance and resistance against taking the easy paths that lead to crime and drug abuse.”
For further information please contact Gini Cope, Missions committee
Berkshire Women’s Aid were delighted with the donation of toys following our Epiphany Christingle service: “There were so many of them and they were all so lovely. They have been distributed between the family refuges in Bracknell, Wokingham and Reading and the outreach service in Bracknell. I think they are all going to be very well-loved!Thank you.”
Crowthorne HopeZone has been operating out of the Baptist Church on the High Street since October 2009. It originated from the HOPE 08 National Initiative and following consultation with Thames Valley Police it became clear to those involved that there was a lack of provision for young people aged 10-18 in the village of Crowthorne. These youngsters were simply looking for somewhere to meet and out of this simple need came the vision for the HopeZone Project - that we, as a practical demonstration of God's love for the young people of our community, provide a suitable space for them to meet, in warmth, safety and security.
Crowthorne HopeZone is an independent charity and all the volunteers who enable it to run are members of churches of ‘Churches Together in Crowthorne'.
This is a piece written by one of our Pathfinders - youth group members who took the opportunity last summer to volunteer in Corrymeela which is one of our chosen charities at St John's. We would welcome other students taking up the chance to go away from home (but not too far!) to help make a difference to other peoples lives. Please contact us if you are in sixth form and looking to really make a difference in a beautiful environment or you can contact Corrymeela on their websitewww.corrymeela.org. in the first instance. You may also contact Sophie here at St John's should you wish to find out about how to organise your own trip. We hope you will look at the site to learn more about their valuable work.'
In summer 2012 I spent two weeks volunteering at Corrymeela, this is a brief report of my experience.
Corrymeela, one of the Missions supported by St. John’s, is situated in Ballycastle on the Northern Ireland coastline. It is an idyllic location providing a fantastic setting to promote the peace and reconciliation goals of the Corrymeela mission.