At St John’s we are very aware that we have a responsibility to those around us in our community, our country and in our world. Through our giving and our involvement with mission organisations we demonstrate our care and love for others especially those who are disadvantaged by their circumstances. At St John’s we have an active World Mission team who ensure that the church is kept up to date with information about the organisations we support and who make opportunities for us to increase our support to those in need.
We commit ourselves to:
- Give at least 10% of our income to mission organisations
- Pray for the organisations we support
- Promote the organisations through planned events and publicity
- Respond to emergency situations as needs arise
We also support Fairtrade at church. Fairtrade certification is a product certification system designed to allow people to identify products that meet agreed environmental, labour and developmental standards. It aims to achieve fairness and justice for poor farming communities. Registered charity number: 245464
In 2020, the world changed with the arrival of Covid 19 and the subsequent world wide pandemic. For the church family at St Johns, the call to respond to those in need goes on....
We had to cancel all our planned fundraising events at church, which meant our giving was down. We sent some of our 2020 emergency fund to support an International Covid 19 Appeal operated by Christian Aid as we were unable to operate our usual Christian Aid week envelope scheme. We also sent funds to the Diocese of Kolkata 'Cyclone Amphan' Appeal, which supported millions of lives badly affected in Bangladesh and North India. We did still manage to arrange collections for Pathways, Foodbank and Shoe Boxes and our new 'online' market is continuing to raise valuable funds.
At St John's we currently tithe ongoing prayerful and financial support to 5 charities, and promote 4 others. We regularly invite speakers from Charitable organisations, and many of us are actively involved locally.
1.The Smiles Foundation:
In 1990, just months after the fall of Ceausescu in Romania, - the Smiles Foundation’s founders, Kevin Hoy and Nia Jones visited State orphanages in several major cities. Of the thousands of children seen, one common observation was noted: a total lack of Smiles.The Charity seeks to relieve poverty, promote education and provide hope & opportunity through a variety of projects, which include Evangelistic Outreach, Food Distribution, Medical Support, Social Assistance, Education, Child Care, Life Skills Training and Housing Provision. Members of St John's have been on Mission Trips to help with these projects, and our fund raising has made a substantial contribution to their building programme. Until 2020, St John's has hosted an annual Community Christmas Market where all the takings go to this charity http://www.thesmiles foundation.org
At Smiles, the effect of the pandemic on the Roma community in Bihor County, NW Romania, has been huge. Already reeling from the initial stock market crash in the New Year, Smiles suffered a 30% drop in their regular income from standing order donations, and then overnight, the lockdown meant that all the scheduled Volunteer Mission Trips were cancelled. Also overnight, all the buyers for the now thriving greenhouse and flower business disappeared. However the Smiles team has risen to the challenge and the work goes on. The organisation has been reorganised and they have published a new vision for the next 10 years. If you would like to receive a regular newsletter by post or email, please follow the links on the site.
Tearfund is an international charity giving both emergency relief and sustained support through local churches http://www.tearfund.org
For Tearfund projects all over the world, the effects of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown have been huge, and both supplies and workers have been prevented from going where they are most needed. Currently our donations are supporting refugees in the dreadful conditions in Syria and Lebanon. Yemen is also very badly affected by a cholera crisis at the moment, and so their medical resources were already at breaking point before the lockdowns began. Globally, the virus has been spreading most rapidly through all these poorer communities which, of course, are the least well equipped to deal with it.
One Tearfund success story however has been the Tap Twinning project.The re invention of the 'Tippy tap' has been a game changer. Tap Twinning was introduced by Tearfund as they have tried to tackle the lack of fresh water in many places with renewed urgency. (This is like the ongoing Toilet Twinning scheme, which we did for all our toilets at St Johns and many of us did as individuals as well) If you would like to help, see online for how you can sponsor a tap or a toilet.
Tearfund UK have also started another new campaign calling on our government to Reboot the economy in a way that prioritises the poorest, tackles the climate emergency and builds a better world for everyone. Please do have a look at their '5 steps to a better world' to find out more.
3.Mission Aviation Fellowship:
This is a Christian charity that provides aviation and communication services to more than 2,000 agencies, and individuals in the world's most remote areas. https://www.maf-uk.org In 2019, more than 2,000 organisations worldwide relied on MAF aircraft to enable them to reach isolated people in desperate need of help, hope and healing. They were able to deliver more than 2,000 tonnes of freight, carry 80,000+ passengers to 650 destinations on more than 28,000 flights, Altogether they flew more than19,000 hours. Since the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, and subsequent global lock down, their flights have been reduced by approximately 80%. However, as with all our charities, they have adapted really quickly to the way they work in response to this unique global situation. Currently they are still flying to parts of South Sudan, Tanzania, Chad, Liberia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea and elsewhere, delivering coronavirus test and vaccination kits.
4.The Church Army:
The Church Army is an evangelistic organisation founded in the Church of England and now operating in many parts of the Anglican Communion https://www.churcharmy.org Church Army key workers are continuing to support vulnerable and isolated individuals in a range of projects across the UK and Ireland during the coronavirus pandemic. The change in people’s giving because of COVID-19 and increased costs in this period means they are facing a potential deficit of nearly £80,000 per month. We are hoping that the Church Army will play an increasing role in the life of St John's once our new mission objectives are crystallised
Pathways was opened by former Beirut hostage Terry Waite in 2006, to provide positive support, advice and a refuge for homeless people with a variety of physical, social and emotional needs. Pathways is currently located at 120 Saltergate, Chesterfield S40 1NG and offers a variety of services to help homeless, rootless people in our own community. It works very closely with other local services, including the local Foodbanks, and the Street Pastors with whom St John's Church also have close connections. Pathways have been central in offering help and support to homeless people in Chesterfield, throughout the pandemic. https://www.pathwaysofchesterfield.co.uk
In addition to our tithed charities, we also encourage support for Christian Aid Week, Christmas Charity Shoe Boxesand, as a Fairtrade church, have sought to organise events promotingFairtrade and Trade Justice.
The Fairtrade sector has been struggling to support their producers overseas during the pandemic. However, we are still able to get Traidcraft goods Please contact our local rep. Alison Wells for catalogues/orders. They also have stock available for immediate delivery as they have been unable to operate their stalls as usual.
Also Traidcraft have become aware that many well known UK fashion brands are cancelling their orders without notice because of the pandemic. Millions of workers in clothing and shoe factories in developing countries are thus suddenly being left with no income at all. Traidcraft Exchange have arranged a petition seeking to get UK fashion brands to honour their contracts with their suppliers and commit to looking after their workers in this time of crisis. Please spare a minute to look at the information online and support this if you can.
Just google Traidcraft exchange – fast fashion crisis.
We have supported The Samaritans Purse – 'Operation Christmas Child' – Shoe Box Appeal for many years,
Finally the Chesterfield Foodbank has been just one of the schemes finding new ways to operate in our local community since Covid 19 changed all our lives. The local need has been, and continues to be enormous. Alongside Pathways, they have continued to operate throughout as have several other community food charities which have sprung up. A new foodbank, our 4th, has also opened in New Whittington to serve the extra need. Collections are made regularly from our own local Morrisons and from the other major supermarkets. If you are able to donate goods, but are not visiting shops, and so are wondering how to do this, please contact us.