St Michael & All Angels

Sharing God's Love

Charity of the Month

Each month we support a different charity. Information about the chosen charity is published in the Parish magazine, and a presentation is made at the 10.30 service on the first Sunday of the month.

The Charity for the month of February is Tearfund

Tearfund was founded in 1968 following a spontaneous outpouring of compassion among UK Christians, who sent money to the Evangelical Alliance, and the fund was created to distribute the cash to evangelical agencies caring for the needs of refugees around the world.  Powerful images, striking design and provocative messaging characterised publicity materials and propelled Tearfund onto the Christian stage, urging a new, radical understanding of what it means to bring good news to the poor, caring for their physical as well as spiritual needs.        God’s provision for Tearfund’s development didn’t let up as income grew each year and, in 1973, it became a registered charity.  By then, 80 per cent of its aid was allocated to long term development projects, demonstrating Jesus’ love for the poor in tangible, sustainable and life-changing ways. The establishment of a Disaster Response Unit followed in 1994, and was a key milestone in Tearfund’s development, revealing an increasing desire to go the extra mile to provide help where it’s most needed.  Within six months the unit was in action, responding to one of history’s worst episodes of inhumanity – the Rwandan genocide, where 800,000 people were brutally killed. Tearfund staff were sent to help thousands of refugees in Tanzania and Zaire who fled the carnage.  The need for disaster expertise was underlined to deadly effect in the early years of the new millennium. In 2001 a massive earthquake struck Gujarat in India killing 20,000 people and destroying 400,000 homes.      

Today, Tearfund is among the UK’s top ten emergency relief agencies, commanding a respected reputation built on good practice and years of experience helping people in some of the world’s most challenging places.  God’s direction over Tearfund’s development can be seen not only in the provision of income and leaders with the right qualities at the right times, but also the new ways in which it has responded to injustice over the years.  From the early years to the present day, sharing God’s love and whole life vision for humanity underpins Tearfund’s outlook, fuelled by the generous giving of supporters.   Long-term development remains at the heart of its work, building partnerships with local churches to increase their ability to bring change to poor communities.  As in 1968, so today, Tearfund is driven by God’s relentless love to reach those suffering in poverty and it is by answering his call that we bring both material help and spiritual hope to the places of greatest need.  Across the Middle East, millions of people are suffering.  In Syria and Iraq millions have fled their homes to escape the terrifying brutality of Islamic State (IS) militants, and the UK Government has undertaken to admit 20,000 refugees from Syria over a five year period. Despite security risks, Tearfund are at work on the ground supporting families who urgently need access to safe water, shelter and vital essentials.  But so much more needs to be done... 

Please support our Charity of the Month, there is a box near the main door for your donation, which may be Gift Aided if you pay tax.  Also please pray to help those displaced by violence.

 Brian Woodgate

The Charity for the month of March is Embrace

The Christian development charity tackling poverty and injustice in the Middle East

A NEWCOMER to Marden’s “Charity of the Month” series, EMBRACE the Middle East will be familiar to anyone attending carol concerts as the supplier (free) of the colourful and useful Bethlehem Carol Sheet, now in its 60th edition.

Founded in 1854 as the Turkish Missions Aid Society and known until 2012 as Bible Lands, this Christian charity has worked with and supported Christian communities doing life-changing work in countries in the Near and Middle East, including Turkey, the Balkans and Cyprus.  Currently Embrace is supporting 47 partner-projects across Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt and Syria: hospitals, clinics, schools, homeless- addiction- and refugee-shelters, rehabilitation, social services & civil rights, Israeli/Palestinian reconciliation, skills & business support.

HERE ARE JUST FOUR INDIVIDUALS’ STORIES CHOSEN AT RANDOM:

Gaza: 'I was worried about Walaa’s health. I could tell her condition wasn't good. It wasn’t a surprise when the NECC staff at the clinic told me she has severe malnutrition and anaemia...'

Syria: One of the young men told him: 'My mind is confused; my brain has stopped. I can no longer think ahead. How can I rebuild my life, when I now have no home and no money?'

Egypt: When Mikal first arrived at Shams El Birr, he was crying all the time and refused to join in with any of the classes. Although this was challenging, the team didn’t give up on him...

Lebanon: The words 'refugee camp' make people think of makeshift tents and transience, but Dbayeh camp near Beirut, lies on an uneasy line between up rootedness and permanence. But your gifts bring hope and happiness to children through the gift of a library...

READ MORE AT www.embraceme.org

How can you help? There is a display on the blue board about the work of Embrace, please read it, take a Prayer Diary or a magazine, and consider an ‘alternative gift’ from the catalogue – Girl Power, Making Peace, Feed a Family… There is a collecting box with Gift Aid envelopes on the dresser for your donations as you leave church.  Oh, and pray!