Helping people and not judging. That’s one of the key things Jesus told us to do. St Paul’s have decided to take this seriously. Of course pretty much everyone at St Paul’s is already involved with their own charity work, whether it is giving, helping or managing. However St Paul’s felt that working as a church to help the needy would spread the message that we are serious about doing Jesus’ work. On Saturday 16th October St Paul’s will be holding a Day of Action, where groups of people will be taking on projects in the community. Projects include painting and decorating, gardening, collecting litter and laying a patio.
It is shocking just how much poverty there is in Camberley. There are families who are struggling to make ends meet and really don’t have the time or energy to think about painting a bedroom or carpeting a landing. John Looby, Chairman of St Vincent De Paul (an international charity that is focused on providing for the poor) knows this more than anyone since he spends 24/7 helping those in need. I was shocked to discover SVP Camberley recently helped a person who had taken shelter under a bridge. They were homeless, cold and hungry. In Camberley? Are you sure? Sadly, this is the truth. “At SVP Camberley, we work hard to provide whatever is needed from furniture to food. Monetary gifts are great and yes we are always in need of that but often a helping hand is just as good,” say’s John, “For example last Saturday morning a few of us gathered to clean up some oven’s and freezers urgently needed for some young families. An hour or two is often all that is needed.”
Grace has been working with the Besom for a number of years. She helped set up the Camberley office which consists of a telephone,a garage and a corner of a warehouse to store furniture, clothing and anything needed to set up a home. The Besom is a Christian charity that works on Jesus’ principal of helping those in need by facilitating churches to help the poor. She works closely with St Vincent De Paul to help those in Camberley. “It makes good sense to work together,” she says, “We are all fighting the same cause; eliminating hardship and providing for those in need.”
Both the Besom and SVP Camberley are among the organisations who have provided projects for the St Paul’s Day of Action. Other Camberley churches are also getting involved on this day and we hope that this will become a huge annual event for all the churches in Camberley together.
Becca Mayne, Head of Social Transformation at St Paul’s and Coordinator of the Day of Action is passionate about helping the community and explains St Paul’s mission like this; “We are helping those in need in our community because this is what God commanded us to do. We do this, not to evangelise but because Jesus reached out to those in need and we want to do the same. We reach out with joy and love in our hearts and not out of duty.” Last year Becca took her 10 year old daughter Acacia with her to visit the projects. “Acacia saw how tough some people’s lives are. It really made an impression on her and made her realise how fortunate we are and that we should be thankful for our blessings.”
So Saturday 16th October is the Day of Action and groups of people will be spending their time painting, gardening and hopefully brightening up people’s lives. The rewards are amazing as you see the impact of a few hours work on people’s lives and on neighbourhoods. “Neighbour’s passing by were curious as to why a group would be prepared to give up a day of their time to tidy up a garden,” say’s Becca speaking of last year’s day of action, “The children came over to chat and one set of neighbours even rang the press to tell them what was going on!”