Jesus’ ministry was jam-packed with teaching about issues of justice and peace. So any Christian church will naturally be concerned about justice and peace!
At St Mary’s our Justice and Peace Group will attempt to support both the worshipping and the wider communities in responding to Jesus’ teachings about how we relate to one another and to the natural environment we inhabit, specifically in relation to:
- Social justice and human rights at local, national and international levels
- International peace
- World development of the human community
- Ecology and the integrity of creation
Membership is open to all who have an interest in, and are prepared to work at, this aim.
The Group will pursue this core aim principally through:
- Awareness raising
- Prayerful support
- Practical help
You can find out below about:
The BAY Foodbank
Debt Help (Christians against Poverty)
Vision Aid Overseas and your old spectacles
and we end with some prayers for justice and peace.
Christian Aid is a Christian organisation that believes the world can and must be swiftly changed so that everyone can live a full life.
Christian Aid has a vision – an end to poverty – and we believe that vision can become a reality.
Christian Aid Week
St Mary’s works with Christian Aid in its Street collections every May. As part of the national effort to raise funds for the world’s poorest people, volunteers from St Mary’s join colleagues from other churches in inviting local residents to put some cash in the Christian Aid envelopes. Look out for a red envelope through your door each year in Christian Aid Week. Last year we raised around £3,500, including gift aid. Many thanks to all who gave so generously.
You don't, however, have to wait for the red envelope each year to donate. Donations are welcome at any time. You can go online to http://www.christianaid.org.uk/give/make-a-donation/index.aspx, phone 020 7523 2492 or send a cheque to Christian Aid, Freepost RSUR-YSTS-KJUL, 35-41 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7RL.
The BAY Foodbank
The BAY Foodbank started in Whitley Bay but now supplies provisions across all North Tyneside. It began in February 2012 when local Christians decided to make a practical response to the needs they saw around them. The food bank currently functions under the charitable status of The Bay Church, but it receives invaluable practical and financial support from many other churches, organisations, businesses and individuals in the area. Non-perishable food is donated by local people. Churches organise collections and supermarkets have food bins. And you can give money via their website (see below).
The BAY Foodbank provides emergency food provision to individuals or families experiencing a financial crisis. This can happen when a family has little or no money because of low income, bereavement, benefit delay, redundancy, an unexpected bill or illness. The food bank is not a walk-in facility, people need to be referred by churches, doctors, social services or other agencies. In response to referrals food parcels are delivered by drivers. All the workers at the BAY Foodbank are volunteers.
In 2014, St Mary's alone enabled the Foodbank to deliver over 3,200 parcels to more than 5,800 people.
“Please can I say a heartfelt 'thank you' for the very generous gifts of emergency provisions. Donations have been received by some needy families who are living in emergency temporary accommodation and who find themselves in very difficult and trying circumstances.
"We are extremely grateful for the incredibly swift response to our requests. Delivery to the recipient is even more efficient than any supermarket on-line delivery service! Please extend our thanks to the volunteers who help in The Bay Foodbank, and also to the generosity of anyone who makes any donation.
"Your project really does help to make a difference to the lives of some of the homeless in North Tyneside. Thank you very much!” Transient Teacher, North Tyneside
If you'd like to help, or require more information, please contact the BAY Foodbank:
0191 257 3820
07749 333 968 (Jackie Dickinson)
Struggling with Debt?
Fear, anxiety, isolation, missing meals, feeling depressed ...... all symptoms resulting from struggling to cope with debt and the ongoing phone-calls, letters and texts you receive from creditors chasing money. It’s a minefield and you don’t know how to get out of it.
‘Sally’ felt the same, she didn’t know where to turn until her support worker suggested she got in touch with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) for help. This is what she told us: “I was at the end of my tether; no-one really understood how I felt, so frightened, so guilty and so lonely. I couldn’t talk to the rest of my family or even my closest friend. But when I finally made the call to CAP, my mind was put at ease straight away. The woman who took my call was friendly and didn’t ask too many questions, instead she reassured me that CAP would find a solution to my debt and that I had nothing to worry about. Soon afterwards my local CAP Debt Coach came to visit, she listened and seemed to understand me and what was going on, more reassurance followed as we worked through my debt together. CAP took over the contact with my creditors, and put a budget in place that allowed me to prioritise bills and food as well as pay off my debt. I’ll be debt free within 3 years, and CAP will stick with me throughout that time. They’re more than just debt counsellors, they really do help me to look forward to the future – I even have some savings now thanks to CAP.”
CAP offers a free service to anyone struggling with debt, and can be contacted on 0800 328 0006 or via www.capdebthelp.org.
Rick and Sue Channing write about their visit to South India: We were privileged to have been part of a group of twelve enthusiasts who travelled on the TraidCraft tour of South India in January 2014. It being our first time in India, we were stunned by the vibrant, colourful assault on the senses which accompanies a busy Airport. However we were soon whisked away into the hills of the Western Ghats, The first few days of a jam packed itinerary were spent visiting small-holding farmers in the hills of North Kerala. All were members of ‘Fair Trade Alliance Kerala’ (FTAK). In an area under threat of deforestation and the commercial use of the natural forest, the farmers of organic coffee, cashew nuts, spices and coconuts see themselves as guardians of one of the most important areas of biodiversity in India. Acting together in the FTAK cooperative they produce their range of crops, and ‘Fair Trade’ ensures them a minimum price, and therefore some stability, when the commodities markets can vary so greatly.
We were fortunate to be able to meet Tommy Marshall, the founder and driving force behind FTAK. He acknowledged how important the ‘Fair Trade’ was to them, but expressed some concern that some big global companies were now certified ‘Fairtrade’ for their chocolate. On the one hand this is good for their cocoa producers, but he worries about the influence they may have over the ‘Fairtrade’ brand. His aim for FTAK is to go beyond the Fair Trade minimum price to what he calls ‘Fair Trade +3’, the three extra elements being Biodiversity, Organic farming and Gender equality. All the farmers we visited were committed to this. They were also keen to show us the ingenious ways they had invented to be self sufficient (one farmer was cooking with gas produced by his cow !).
The tour continued with a remarkable blend of the tourist sights and TraidCraft projects. From traditional dancing to a tea plantation, from an overnight boat trip on the backwaters of Kerala to a wildlife sanctuary, from elephant rides to staying at an orphanage, from visiting Ancient Hindu Temples to a pottery in Tamil Nadu.
The pottery visit, in a village outside Chennai (Madras), summed up for us the ethos of TraidCraft. When they first began, a lot of interest was show by some big retailers, but when the pots had some quality issues the big companies backed out. TraidCraft however contacted Sunderland University who sent out a team to help them resolve those issues and continue to work alongside them as they now grow and expand. You can buy their cups from TraidCraft.
As we went from place to place we were inspired by all those we met, who were determined to improve their communities and were full of praise for their Traidcraft partners. At the end of our 16 day tour we were all determined to look out for the ‘Fairtrade’ label and to support TraidCraft in our churches and local communities.
Street Pastors and Prayer Pastors are Christian volunteers who spend time on the streets in their community to Help, Care and Listen.
We care for all types of people. The vulnerable ones, the ones that are lost in a strange town, the ones that have drunk too much and need help to get home, and those that just want someone to listen: all are cared for with an unconditional offer of help.
It’s now over two years since we started, and to date we have completed, in the Whitley Bay/Tynemouth area, 258 patrols: that’s 5,341 volunteer hours on patrol. We picked up and binned 4,721 bottles and glasses, helped 1,979 vulnerable people, and issued 943 foil blankets, 632 pairs of flip flops and 620 bottles of water.
If you are interested in becoming a Street Pastor, contact Chris Lincoln on 07549 015896, or email http://email@example.com.
If you are interested in becoming a Prayer Pastor, contact Barbara Grundy on 0780319597, or email http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on one off or regular giving contact John Sutcliffe, c/o The Bay Church, 109 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay NE26 2ET, or send an email to http://email@example.com ; or text a donation to WBSP26 £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.
Find us on Facebook or our website firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a church, we’ve been learning about, and supporting ‘Five Talents’ over the last few of years.
Five Talents is a microfinance initiative set up by the worldwide Anglican church. Working with local partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Five Talents is fighting poverty in the developing world by creating jobs.
They do this mainly by making small business loans. The loans start at just £25 – enabling an entrepreneur to start or build a small business, helping him or her, plus family, co-workers and their families.
The kind of people who have successfully applied for loans just about survive, but haven’t the money to turn a business idea into a reality that would bring in enough money to feed their families properly, pay for schooling and healthcare, perhaps create a few jobs. People in that situation are unlikely to live anywhere near a bank, and even less likely to get a loan from them. Without savings, a bank account or collateral of any kind, the only way they’re likely to get a loan is through a project like ‘Five Talents’.
Five Talents have over 68,000 clients in 12 different countries, an increase of 82% in 2012 compared with 2011. Every client receives business training. The average loan is £83, and the average repayment rate is 98%.
The work of Five Talents is constantly monitored by local business advisers to ensure they are lending to people at the lowest poverty levels. It is inspiring to know that such small amounts can make such a big difference to people who would otherwise live in complete poverty, with little hope for a better life.
The work of Five Talents helps to develop local economies and encourages independence rather than dependency on grants.
Do look at their website, www.fivetalents.org.uk, and read about how tiny loans achieve huge differences, and great satisfaction as loans are repaid and recycled.
A London host greets her guest
Hazel Howliston writes: I’d like to share with you my experience as a volunteer host for Nightstop, a service run by DePaul UK which offers a warm, safe place to stay the night to young people (16 to 25) facing a housing crisis. As a host I also provide an evening meal and breakfast, will wash and dry clothes and offer a listening ear if wanted. Hosts might be families or couples or people living on their own like me! A host is given introductory training sessions and is CRB-checked. The young person’s circumstances will also be checked by the DePaul workers at the Youth Resource Centre, who look into their situation and try to find more permanent accommodation for them.
I’ve found it most rewarding and interesting, hosting young people who are in difficulties for a variety of reasons, often connected with family breakdown. Some have been ‘sofa surfing’ with friends and relatives, while others have slept out which put them at risk of attack and theft as well as being at the mercy of the elements. There are rules and responsibilities for both hosts and young people, which work well as you can tell from the fact that I have hosted 40 of these young people who have stayed over 100 nights with no trouble from any of them and only one I didn’t enjoy hosting.
One lad had slept under a bridge, one girl had slept out in Newcastle, another lad came along to our Jubilee street party. Some of the lads could eat you out of house and home, one girl would eat hardly anything, some need a quiet space in their own room, most like to watch the soaps on TV. One lad chatted till midnight, others are quiet. Recently a girl who stayed with me was depressed and anxious and scared about having to sleep out. After a few nights staying with Nightstop hosts, the DePaul workers found her accommodation in a shared flat – she is now so happy and relieved and said she didn’t know what she would have done without Nightstop.
It’s really enjoyable and rewarding to be part of the process of helping these young people get their lives back on track again. I do hope others will consider volunteering, and I would be happy to talk to anyone interested in Nightstop (ring the Parish Office on 0191 251 4216).
We want your old spectacles
Judith and Nigel Robinson, local optometrists and part of the St Mary’s community, can make excellent use of your old spectacles (at their practice in Monkseaton, or via St Mary’s Church Office). The spectacles go to Vision Aid Overseas (VAO), and via them to people in developing countries where spectacles are too expensive or simply not available.
After delivery to VAO Headquarters in Crawley, the spectacles are rough sorted to eliminate any which are clearly unsuitable before being passed to one of their partner prisons. Selected prisoners are trained by VAO volunteers to carry out a more detailed examination of the spectacles before grading the lenses and packing them. VAO provides optical instruments, hand tools and packing materials to the prisoners for whom such work is a valuable step towards rehabilitation.
So you see (as it were!), your gift of old spectacles, worthless to you, can achieve more than one helpful result. Please be conscientious – most of us spectacle wearers have an old pair tucked away somewhere – seek them out! And don’t stop there: spread the word to your family and friends.
Prayers for Justice and Peace
Make your ways known upon earth, Lord God,
your saving power among all peoples.
Renew your Church in holiness
and help us to serve you with joy.
Guide the leaders of this and every nation,
that justice may prevail throughout the world.
Let not the needy be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor be taken away.
Make us instruments of your peace
and let your glory be over all the earth. Amen
you hold both heaven and earth in a single peace.
Let the design of your great love
shine on the waste of our anger and sorrow,
and give peace to your Church,
peace among nations,
peace in our homes,
and peace in our hearts,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty God our heavenly Father,
guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth,
and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness,
that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
a vision of our land as your love would make it:
- a land where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
- a land where the benefits of civilised life are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
- a land where different races and cultures live in tolerance and mutual respect;
- a land where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
And give us the inspiration and courage to build it,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
we bow in humble prayer
knowing that we have failed you again and again.
We long for peace but we do not live as a people of peace.
We long for justice but we act unjustly.
We expect forgiveness but we fail to forgive.
We make promises and do not keep them.
We see suffering and expect others to act.
Please forgive us, we pray.
Help us to offer worship which is unblemished,
to live lives which are filled with righteousness
and to build communities of justice and hope,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen