Acts 435 Giving to anyone who has need

At the end of 2015 I was approached by St. Mary's Church Tadcaster, near York who said they wanted to explore a way to give to Acts 435 on a regular basis through 2016 to specific requests, rather than simply sending in a cheque for us to allocate (as most churches who give choose to do). We discussed how this might work and decided the best way was to set up a standing order of £100 each month, but that we would wait to hear from the church as to which request or requests they would like to allocate that money to.

Each month we were able to quickly respond to their email of preferred requests and make that allocation. It has been a great way to really engage the church in choosing who they support, but it wasn't until they sent through a brief report on the Acts 435 giving, that I realised how creative they had been to ensure that every area of the church got involved ... and how many different types of needs they were able to meet.

In January, the Thursday Home Group chose to support two people in Todmorden. Following the Boxing Day storms, a replacement pram and white goods were contributed to.

In February, the Choir chose to help a lady in Sheffield who suffers with chronic migraines & from dyslexia. The specialist glasses enabled her to read & also reduce the number of migraines that she suffers.

In March, the Tuesday Fellowship Group's choice was to help Michaela in Hebden Bridge whose home was badly flooded in the Boxing Day storms. With the whole of the ground floor to the property having been destroyed, we helped provide a replacement washing machine.

Praise and Play chose to support Emma in April. A single parent with a two and a half year old son, who due to the separation from the child's father has had to move house, was is in desperate need of a carpet for her son's bedroom.

Having asked Hidden Treasures for their input, we supported three people in York & Sheffield for May. Eddie was in urgent need of a new tarpaulin for his old-fashioned caravan. A roadside traveller who has lived in his caravan his entire life; his current tarpaulin was worn, resulting in a leaky caravan roof. Jo was abused by her partner for over 10 years and is now starting her life again. We helped replace clothes and bed linen. A mum needed a washing machine after having to leave the family home with her new born baby due to Domestic Violence incidents

Natasha and her boyfriend were expecting their first baby and had just been rehoused to Pontefract. Both were unemployed and they were struggling to buy all that they needed for their new home on the benefits they receive. In June, Messy Church decided that for that month we should help equip the kitchen and get things ready for the baby's arrival

For July the Bell Ringers channelled our gift towards two people: a food pack for a man suffering with dementia to help free up some money to put towards his bills and also a sofa, bed, dining table and chairs for a woman in Bradford who had recently fled her home due to experiencing domestic violence.

Rainbow Through The Rain thought that sensory room equipment would make a huge difference in August to a couple in Ossett. They have three children, each one with special needs including autism, joint hypermobility, speech and language difficulties and diabetes. The couple get very little sleep and a bubble lamp and tactile matting were a great help to this family.

We included a housebound member of the church community along with one of their carers to choose who to support in September. A young Mum in Barnsley, who did not know she was pregnant until she went into labour had made no preparations for the baby. We have provided the money for a new mattress and bedding for the second hand cot they have been given.

In October, the Youth Group chose to help a young homeless single mum who was about to give birth, furnish a flat she had just been given. She has a bed, a chair and white goods but has no other furniture, so we helped her get a table and storage unit for her living room. They also helped a young girl on benefits who had been kicked out of her mother's house. She needed a single bed which she could not afford to buy herself.

Members of the evening congregation helped replace the tools of a qualified carpenter in November. All his tools had been stolen; as a result, he had to take a low paid labouring job. This gift helped him return to his carpentry business. They also helped an asylum seeker in Huddersfield with no financial support obtain a dictionary, notebooks and writing equipment for an accredited ESOL course to enable his Home Office application.

December saw members of the 10:30 congregation help someone who had been sleeping rough get a cooker and a fridge for the flat they had just been allocated. Being able to make herself meals and to shop economically help contributed towards her being able to look for a job and turning her life around.

Isn't this just a wonderful picture, first of church community and its various activities, and secondly of how different people connect with different types of needs? It really touched me to read the outworking of St. Mary's monthly gift. Thank you to all at St. Mary's, for your support and for your intentionality in bringing the whole congregation along on this journey. Bless you.

St. Mary's Tadcaster