‘Built up’ in love
When we having been saying ‘we’ through the pages of these daily reflections – who do we mean? It’s certainly not only those who live and worship in the churches of the Bro Celynnin Ministry Area, although many of ‘us’ do. We are connected across the miles by love, and a wish to be nourished by a faith that can challenge and comfort through this extraordinary time. The daily reflections have given us a sense of community, and this week in particular have revealed more of people’s personal stories. Today, Heather Thompson from Gyffin describes her lifetime association with Christian Aid, so fitting at the conclusion of Christian Aid Week. This also says something profound about our connectedness with those who need the support of charities to receive the kind of things we take for granted. The ‘us’ is God’s people all over the world.
[Details of tomorrow’s Sunday service and coffee at bottom of page]
Heather Thompson writes:
My parents supported Christian Aid, so I used to help Mum delivering Christian Aid envelopes as a child, then when I was 16 was able to collect them as well. In those days the usual gift was ten or twenty pence but I remember calling at one house and giving an envelope to a man who had mislaid his and he put a whole £1 in! I had very little money myself so I was amazed and prayed blessings on him for years whenever I passed his house.
When I was 18 I listened to some people complaining that Christian Aid was getting political rather than just feeding people and I stopped collecting that year. Mum was disappointed and gave me a Christian Aid magazine to read. When I investigated I realised that poverty is political. Governments make choices. We have responsibilities. I collected again, with more enthusiasm.
When we married and moved to Sittingbourne we joined the collecting team in our church and took it over when the elderly organiser had to give up. And so my association with Christian Aid continued, and over the years I have witnessed such generosity – in the time given by fundraising volunteers and donors. I could share so many stories, such as calling at the house of a Polish lady one year. She knew nothing of Christian Aid and the annual red envelope collection. At first she was going to refuse; her son had thrown away the envelope. Then she asked me what Christian Aid was about, and would I explain slowly as she had little English. I told her about the start, in 1945 to help the people of Europe who needed food and clothes after the devastation of war. I shared about the present theme of the collection and how it went to whoever was in need no matter their country or religion. She thought about it deeply, then asked for another envelope and put in £20 (the average collection by this time was £1).
When we moved to Conwy, I attended a Cytun meeting where they asked for someone to take on the role of Christian Aid organiser for here. Everyone sat on their hands! I had only lived here a short while but I thought of the people who lived across the world in poverty. It was not their fault that the rains had failed, the war had blown up their house, that water was a 3 hour walk away with a 3 hour return journey each day, or that they had to miss school because they could not afford to pay for the books and pencils needed. I thought of a lady in India who told my friend “that lady is rich; she has vegetables with her rice four days a week!”
So yes, I am now the Conwy Christian Aid organiser! And of course I ask you to make a donation for Christian Aid this week. COVID-19 has made even more calls on Christian Aid’s money this year, while we can neither hold coffee mornings nor deliver envelopes, so we are being encouraged to make donations online. Just click here to donate to the Conwy Christian Aid Group (our local ‘Just Giving’ account for the Christian Aid appeal). At a time when we are experiencing a greater sense of community locally, through the days of more restricted living, here is the opportunity to show how our support for one another can extend around the world. For by doing this we are, as St. Paul says, ‘being built up’ as the place where the love of God resides.
Loving God, strengthen our innermost being with your love
that bears all things even the weight of this global pandemic,
even the endurance of watching for symptoms,
of patiently waiting for this to pass
watching while we pray, keeping our gaze fixed on you,
and looking out for our neighbours near and far.
Instil in our shaken souls
the belief and hope that all things are possible
with your creative love for strangers to become friends,
for science to source solutions,
for resources to be generously shared
so everyone, everywhere, may have what they need.
May your perfect love that knows no borders
cast out any fear and selfishness that divides.
May your love that never ends be our comfort,
strength and guide for the wellbeing of all
and the glory of God. Amen.
Christian Aid Prayers
Dduw cariadus, cryfhau ein bod gyda’r cariad
sy’n cynnal popeth hyd yn oed pwysau’r pandemig hwn
hyd yn oed y chwilio manwl am symptomau
a’r disgwyl hir iddynt fynd heibio,
yn gwylio a disgwyl,
gan gadw’n llygaid arnat ti,
a gofalu am ein cymdogion ymhell ac agos. Gosod yn ein henaid brau y gred
a’r gobaith fod popeth yn bosibl gyda dy gariad
creadigol y gall dieithriaid ddod yn ffrindiau
y gallu gwyddoniaeth ganfod yr atebion y gall
adnoddau gael eu rhannu’n deg fel bod pawb, ym mhobman,
yn cael yr hyn sydd ei angen, a bod dy gariad,
na ŵyr ddim am ffiniau, yn bwrw allan pob ofn a hunanoldeb sy’n rhannu. Bydded i’th gariad sy byth yn darfod ein cysuro,
ein nerthu a’n harwain er lles pawb
ac er gogoniant i Dduw. Amen.
Bro Celynnin Sunday Service
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