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Living God's Love logo


Living God's Love...

.is an invitation to journey

It's an opportunity to discover new things about God, ourselves and the world, to look with fresh eyes and explore new ways.

In particular, it is a call to the parishes, schools and people of the Diocese of St Albans to Go Deeper into God,Transform Communities and Make New Disciples.

Click here for current Mission Action Plan (MAP)

Banking on being FED!

In the last couple of years we have witnessed the emergence and rapid growth of foodbanks across our nation in which local churches and congregations often play a key role. Through lo odbanks, Christians are able to express key Gospel values and declare something of the faith that defines us. In real and practical ways we are sharing our bread with one another, welcoming the stranger, and loving our neighbour.

At Great St Mary's we share in those Christian values by acting as a collection point for Harlow Foodbank. On the second Sunday of the month, members of the congregation are encouraged to donate non-perishable food and drink Everything from ambrosia rice to zero lacto long-life milk (yes, I struggled to find an item beginning with 'Z'!) is gathered together by two church members, Cathy and Ann, who volunteer for the Foodbank.

Having witnessed their enthusiasm over the two years since I moved to Sawbridgeworth, I thought that it would he interesting to see what happens to the food once it leaves the church building. So, last month I went to find out what happens next. The donations are not taken straight to the Foodbank as I'd imagined, but to the Store House in Matching Tye. I went along and met Cathy; plus a number of other volunteers, and was fortunate to be given a tour of the building by a trustee from the charitv,

I found quite an operation in place and I discovered more about the charity behind the Foodbank.

The Foodbank and the Store House are run by a Christian charity, the Michael Roberts Charitable Trust (MRCT). The MRCT have a number of other worthwhile ventures in the Harlow area that the Store House distributes food to, but there isn't the space to tell you about them all here.

As many of you probably know, the aim of the foodbank is to help individuals and families in crisis by distributing food and putting them in touch with relevant agencies who can offer further support and guidance. Tinned and dried food is collected from the public at supermarkets, churches, schools, and local businesses and organisations and then amassed in the Store House. It is then given out to people in crisis who have been referred to the Foodbank by registered front-line professional agencies.

Items that make-up a staple diet are put together in nutritionally balances boxes for distribution to those who are in crisis. As I write this, Ann and Cathy are being sponsored to live on one of these food boxes for five consecutive days. I hope that in the next issue of C&T they will share with us some of their experiences as they face, in a small way, what it's like for those who rely on the boxes as their only food source.

Sadly we have always lived in a world where people are hungry. But the figures show that hunger is an increasing reality in the UK. In the last five years, the scale of need for foodbanks has grown. The recent MRCT Annual Report states that:

"The introduction o universal credits has resulted in substantial increases infoodbank referrals, the significant rise in the number of people who are street homeless and vulnerably housed and the number of children now being supported by low income families in crisis. 11arlow Foodbank's work continues to increase year on year, and this year has been no exception. We have seen a 36% increase in client re ferrals compared to the same period

It is a great testimony that at Great St Mary's people have generously given up time and money to meet this need. It is a real tragedy that so many families find themselves in such circumstances.

Jesus invited his followers to pray that they might be given their daily bread. Foodbanks remind us that the provision and distribution of food lies at the very heart of God's concern for this most central of physical needs. With every blessing,

Debbie Hore
Assistant Minister

Details of the dates are in the calendar of events ("This Week") here on the website and in Church & Town. If you would like to know more about what is available for children or adults at Great Mary's, then do please contact us. Our contact details are HERE.