A highlight of 2014 has been our increased focus on praying for those in need. Whether through conflict or famine, oppression or personal tragedy, many have suffered across our world, and it has been moving to pray regularly in our Sunday services for God to bring peace and provision.
But as James reminds us, ‘Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?’ (James 2:15-16). Faith and action belong together and, as well as praying for the needs of the world, it’s important to give generously to those in need.
So at the start of a new year, I’d like to take a moment to remind you of just a few of the ways your giving in 2014 has enabled us to support people and projects around the world.
Poor rainfall in East Africa meant that Kenya faced high levels of drought in 2014, resulting in low food production, malnutrition and widespread famine. We made a donation of £5,000 to a group of churches in Kenya with whom we have good relationship, to help them respond to this crisis.
Most Sundays over the Summer we spent time praying about conflict situations in Syria, Ukraine, Gaza and Iraq. As the conflict heightened in Ukraine, we gave a gift of £5,000 to a group of churches in East Ukraine, who were involved in housing, feeding and caring for many people who had been displaced because of the conflict.
Recently we’ve also been able to give £2,500 to those involved in bringing relief in the on-going crisis in Syria, particularly working in refugee camps on the Turkish-Syrian border. There are currently around 200,000 refugees in this area, half of whom are children, and many of whom have fled Syria. We have contributed towards food supplies, medical equipment, blankets, clothes and shelter for the refugees.
At our Love London Sunday in October, we wanted to celebrate our first 10 years in the city by giving a gift of £10,000, which we divided between four charities who we felt were making a great contribution to our city, our nation, and overseas. We gave £2,500 each to Street Doctors, Vauxhall City Farm, Home for Good, and World Vision. You can click through the links to find out more about each charity and the great work that they do.
Each year at our Christmas Carol Services, we take a special offering to support charities that are working with those in need, both close to home and further afield. People gave generously in the offering, and we topped up the amount to enable us to give £2,500 to each charity.
The first charity we supported was the GrowTH Homeless Shelter in Tower Hamlets, who provide shelter, hot meals, and support for people to find permanent accommodation. Then, with the increasing death toll due to the spread of Ebola, we gave to Tearfund’s work in West Africa, providing health kits for nearly three whole villages.
All of this is in addition to our regular support of projects like Vauxhall Foodbank, Goals to Glory and Refugee Support Network, which is included in our annual budget.
The start of a new year is a great time to review our finances and our commitments for the next 12 months. Why not take some time to prayerfully consider giving regularly to ChristChurch London? On the finance page you can find information about the various methods for regular giving, and if you haven’t already, we would encourage you to register for gift aid, which will enable us to claim back 25p in every pound that you donate, which helps make your generous giving go that bit further.
If you would like to find out where our money has been spent over the past year, you can download the latest annual accounts, for the year ended 31 July 2014. We will also be presenting these as part of the first Beneath the Surface seminar on 1 February.
Thank you again so much for your continued support and partnership as we seek to put our faith into action.
Image: How much is that shirt, by Steven Felton, used under CC