I am writing this article after leading the first of our church’s Christmas Celebrations. A great time was had by all, singing carols and thinking about the biblical narrative of Jesus’ birth, followed by good food shared together. By the time you read this, Christmas presents will be unwrapped, rich Christmas food eaten, every turkey recipe imaginable will have been consumed and thoughts will be turning to New Year’s resolutions. For the majority of people living in Hook, we will have enjoyed comfortable Christmases in warm homes with people we love. No doubt too we will have written letters, e-mails and text messages thanking people for their generosity towards us.
In my first message of 2013 I want to say thank you, to you, the residents of Hook on behalf of all the people who have benefitted from the food that you have donated to the Hart Foodbank (www.hart.foodbank.org.uk), especially through the collection at Tesco at the beginning of December. On those two days an astonishing 1835 kg of food valued by Tesco at £3212 was donated. Even better, Tesco have given Hart Foodbank 30% cash back – £963 on a store card. Since 1st April 2012 Hart Foodbank has fed 288 people (171 adults and 117 children). The evening before I wrote this article, I was able to supply food to three families feeding 9 more people.
Christmas is a tough season for those who are financially challenged. Pressure to get presents and seasonal food, along with higher fuel costs due to cold weather conspire to leave people in debt and struggling to feed their families. Life Church operates a service called Junction 5 Money Advice (www.junction5.org), which provides confidential advice to help resolve debt crisis. However the chances are that the people most needing help from Junction 5 or the Hart Foodbank don’t read Hook Focus. If you as a reader are aware of a situation that would benefit from this kind of support, please tell them about these services and help us ensure that they get the help they need. In the meantime I wish you a very Happy New Year 2013.
This blog post featured in the January 2013 edition of Hook Focus
One tradition that many schools and churches still maintain at this time of year is Harvest Festival. Traditionally people brought the first fruits of their fields as a thanksgiving to God for the harvest, conscious of their dependence upon his providence in ensuring that there was abundance for the long cold winter months. Some of these offerings were used to provide for the poor in the local community who might otherwise go without. These days Harvest Festival food tends to be tinned or packet food with a long shelf life and gets passed on to any number of charities that distribute them to those experiencing hardship.
Along with a number of local churches, Life Church supports “Hart Foodbank” which distributes food across Hart District. People are often astonished that anyone living in Hart could possibly need such help. Sadly despite the generally high standard of living in this area there are a growing number of people who are in desperate need of this service. On a single afternoon in July 400kg was given to feed 60 local people in Hart. In the 12 months that Hart Foodbank has been operating 453 people have been helped (232 adults and 221 children). So far nearly 7.5 tonnes of food has been donated and we have been able to send over 1.2 tonnes to other Foodbanks across the country. If you would like more information about the national network then please visit http://hart.foodbank.org.uk
At Life Church we don’t hold a Harvest Festival service, rather we encourage people to buy an extra packet of food with the weekly shop and bring it along when they come to church – the need exists all year round and it helps to have a steady supply! However we are grateful to local schools and other organisations who do donate their harvest festival gifts to Hart Foodbank through us. Donations are always welcome and can be left at Life Church Centre during office hours.
This blog post featured in the October 2012 edition of Hook Focus
Are you attending a street party to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee? For a monarch to reign for 60 years is a remarkable achievement and it is hard to imagine this being repeated by any of her living successors. Many of you reading this will remember her Golden and Silver Jubilees and some will even remember her Coronation in 1952.There will also no doubt be many of you who will be celebrating your own special anniversaries in the coming weeks.
The word Jubilee has its origins in the Hebrew Scriptures where it referred to a year of rest to be observed by the Israelites every 50th year. During the year of Jubilee, slaves were to be set free, alienated property restored to the former owners, and the lands left untilled. This process was designed to ensure that no one in the community became too rich and no one became too poor. Sadly in most societies, human selfishness leads to a widening gap between those who have and those who have not.
Living as we do in Hook, we enjoy a standard of living that is the envy of many, yet remarkably there are people living in our village who struggle to make ends meet. For a number of years Life Church has operated a food bank which has provided basic food supplies to help local families and individuals who are experiencing shortages. Food is donated by individuals and packaged up to tide people over for a couple of days while they try to find more permanent solutions. In order to make this service more efficient we will shortly be joining forces with the Hart Foodbank www.fleetmethodist.org.uk/foodbank.html which is one of a number of such centres up and down the country that are affiliated to the Trussell Trust.
If you are attending a Jubilee party this summer, I hope that you have a great celebration! At the same time why not consider supporting those less fortunate than yourselves by ‘Bringing a Tin’ to your event (see www.trusselltrust.org/big-lunch). You can drop any donations off at the Life Church Centre and we will make sure that they get to the right people.
This blog post featured in the June 2012 edition of Hook Focus