Our charitable giving is organised by the Social Responsibility Group within the PCC. Our vision is to be informed, generous and faithful in caring for the poor and needy, and to be involved in issues of social justice in this country and throughout the word by prayer, action and by further increasing our giving.

We nominate charities for special collections throughout the year, being mindful of suggestions from individual members of the congregation and also responding to emergency international appeals.  We also commit to supporting one local and one overseas charity for a period of a few years at a time which helps to strengthen our links and understanding of their work.  We aim that the total annual giving to all charities matches 10% of the Parish’s unrestricted income.

Last year, we supported the following charities:

(Click on box to enlarge)

During the year, we responded to some of the world’s major disasters, including arranging special collections for the Rohingya refugee children on the Myanmar Bangladesh border, the Syrian refugee children in Lebanon, the floods in Kerala, the Red Cross Yemen appeal and highlighting the DEC Indonesia Tsunami Appeal.

In addition, we continue to maintain our connection with the Sharp Memorial School for the Blind in India, through a parishioner who used to teach there, and we regularly send funds to support the work of the School.  See below for an update from the school.

As part of the activities commemorating the end of World War I, the Wallingford Parish Church Choir sang Sir Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’, with a retiring collection for the Royal British Legion

Homelessness is on the increase. As in past years we contributed to The Porch in Oxford through our special collections at our Harvest services. The Porch aims to help homeless, recently re-housed homeless or vulnerably housed people by encouraging them to move forward towards a more positive lifestyle. At Christmas we remembered the homeless and hungry by collecting for Crisis.

Our Christmas services had two other beneficiaries: Parents and Children Together (PACT), a local charity, whose adoption and fostering service finds secure and loving families for some of the 65,000 children in care, and provides specialised therapeutic post-placement support.  The other beneficiary at Christmas was Refuge Resource , a charity which facilitates the integration of refugee and asylum seekers in Oxfordshire.

Our nominated local charity in 2018 was See-Saw. Established in 2000, it works to meet the needs of bereaved children and young people in Oxfordshire. Since then it has supported over 4,300 children and their families.

The Social Responsibility Group also takes the lead, both within the Town and our group of Parishes, during Christian Aid week. It organises house to house collections, a collection in Wallingford Market Place and invites representatives to talk to the congregations in St. Mary’s and St. Leonard’s about the focus of their annual appeal.

In March we concentrated on Fair Trade Fortnight, bringing the issues to the attention of the congregation.

Finally, we donated funds to The Children’s Society through the Children’s Society Boxes.

News from the Sharpe Memorial School for the Blind – May 2019

Mr and Mrs Samuel who manage the Sharp Memorial Blind Schoolhave, for a long time, been looking for successors to take over the School and residential Home.  Just recently there seems to have been some hopeful news. They and their Governing Board have interviewed a couple who have been working for many years among students and now plan to employ them initially for two years – he as Campus Supervisor and she as a teacher. She would have to go for Special Education training though this would not be difficult to combine with family and school life. Mr Samuel says “If they are capable and are willing to serve, and if the Board is happy, we can appoint them in our place in about 2 years.  His name is Siby Ninana and he is about 38 years old.  Her name is Sijo and she is about 33.  They have two boys, one is 6 and the second one is 4.  They said that they could move in from June 1st, as they are involved with their present ministry till the end of May.  They both are graduates of the BSS Theological College. They have been involved with the Evangelical Students’ Union (he), as State Coordinator for the last 6+ years. I told them that it is not an easy – white collar – job and that one has to see to everything.”  Certainly this is what Mr Samuel has been doing single-handedly for several years now, from unlocking the gates about 5 am, seeing the cows being milked in the morning and selling the milk to the locals who queue up for it there through to filling in Hindi forms for the Government on every aspect of the work, as well as employing maintenance and school staff and dealing with admissions of children.  There is good family accommodation prepared for them

In addition to this encouraging news, Ancy, (a former Nun), who joined voluntarily about a year ago, teaches in the school during school hours and helps Mr Samuel in the office in the afternoons.  She is good in keeping accounts and computer work.

The main item for prayer is that the new couple really will come.  People so often suddenly find an offer with a better salary elsewhere. Working with the blind and handicapped, although considered by some a noble task, is also considered very degrading by others.