Our charitable giving is organised by a group of our PCC, ‘Making a Difference in the World’, set up in 2010 to develop one of the strands of the Living Faith programme. Our vision is to be informed, generous and faithful in caring for the poor and needy, and involved in issues of social justice in this country and throughout the world by prayer, action and by further increasing our giving. In particular to:
- Establish the Social Responsibility Committee to raise awareness of Fair Trade, wider development, social and justice concerns, including charitable giving.
- Aim to give 10% of the parish’s income to charity.
- Invite congregations to suggest possible charities, and support one local and the other overseas, for two to three years.
- Seek regular reports from the charities concerned about how funds are being used to enable regular feedback.
We support two principal charities from PCC funds while encouraging our membership to support other relevant causes through special collections and other events.
We have developed our relationship with Style Acre, holding one of our meetings at their premises in Howbery Park and getting to know some of their team and their clients. Our funding was used in 2012 to buy equipment for their Technology for Independence project.
We have continued to work at establishing an appropriate connection within the framework of the Oxford Diocesan link with the Diocese of Kuruman and Kimberley in South Africa.
Our main giving towards the work in our link diocese of Kimberly and Kuruman has been specifically directed towards the appointment of a Social Development officer, Heather Steenkamp. Heather was visited by Catharine Morris (parish development officer for Berkshire) in Spring 2016. When Catharine came to a morning service at St. Mary’s to share her experiences of her trip, she described the real difference that Heather’s work is making to the local communities. You can see her presentation on https://www.dropbox.com/s/ncnmb4hw2bsb5sa/K%20and%20K%20Presentation.pptx?dl=0, whichpictures many projects that are being developed. Hope for the Living, for example, provides food and a safe after school environment for disadvantaged children who have been affected by HIV. When Hope for the Living became a ministry of St Francis, Roodepan, rather than being a separate NGO, the hope was not only that they would be able to re-establish services to children but also that the parish would take ownership of it, that more parishioners would become involved, and that it would integrate with the wider mission of the church.
That seems to be happening. The numbers of children served have increased from 24 when the programme restarted last Autumn to about 80 plus now. More parishioners are joining the team, not necessarily as regular members, but as people who have gifts of time and talent to offer on particular occasions. On Education Sunday, the team running Hope for the Living invited the children to the main parish service, where they were given be-ribboned pens, and where the children who have been learning spiritual dance (taught by a young woman from the parish) performed it as part of the worship.
Heather also says that the expansion of the team has meant that they have been able to integrate people who need the opportunity to serve because of difficulties in their own lives. So lots of people are benefiting, not just the children.
We have also set up a connection with the Sharp Memorial School for the Blind in India through a parishioner who used to teach there. Mr Samuel’s half-yearly report 2015, below, is supplemented below by regular updates from Jeanette Short.
We are now seeking volunteers to help locally in our support of Christian Aid week. Take a look at Some of these charities can help us to show Christ’s love to the world in very practical ways, by supporting their work financially.