” Mission is finding out what God is doing in the world and joining in.. “
In a world where so many people struggle for basics like food, education, healthcare, and housing, the Church has always felt compelled to respond. In both giving aid, and by sending experts and activists to work in partnership with local groups the church hopes to bring care, relief and hope.
At St John & St Stephen’s Reading, we respond to this challenge through various justice, aid and life projects around the world. Our priorities are; first, to inspire an attitude of partnership and collaboration with community projects and charities, and second, to support church members who have a long-term calling to global engagement.
Over the past thirty years the church family has been committed to establishing, with our other church partners, various projects within the Parish and neighbouring communities, (some of which are featured below). We are passionate about engagement and encounter, and hope that the information provided will help you catch more of our Church’s outward-facing activity in the world. If you would like to get involved in any of these projects please contact the Parish Office.
St. John’s has a long standing commitment to give away 22% of the church general income to projects.
The present Community Partnership committee consists of Rosemary Croft (chair), Rachel Thake, Margaret Elcock, Graeme Buick and Heather Curnow. If you would like to become involved with the work of the committee please contact the parish office.
What are we supporting each year?
- Each year we try to find out the interests and commitments of the members of the congregation. Do talk to the leaders of the church about your own views.
- A steering group meets to discuss the options. They recommend how the 22% should be spent. The PCC makes the final decision.
Where does our money go?
In addition to our local activities, such as English Classes, St John’s Cafe, Scouts, Hope into Action and Spud Club, we presently support the following charities;
A Rocha – Environmental Action
CMS – Church Mission Society
Cirdic – Churches in Reading Drop-in Centre
Communicare – Advice, Support and Advocacy
FAITH Readifood – Food Bank
INF – International Nepal Fellowship
LAMB Hospital, Bangladesh
RE-Inspired, religious education in schools
We give £200/year to this charity which sees caring for God’s earth as a demonstration of the Christian hope for God’s world. It works to encourage us to all play our part to look after the creation we have been given. Part of its remit is to award eco-congregation status to churches (St Johns is currently ‘bronze’ and is working towards the silver status). Jo Laynesmith leads the eco-congregation team at St John and St Stephen’s. www.arocha.org/en/
(£2000) aims to end poverty – by supporting communities to develop and by campaigning against some of the causes of poverty – climate change, tax injustice, discrimination against women etc.
Christian Aid fights poverty because everyone should have the opportunity to thrive.
Where does Christian Aid spend its money:
CMS, Church Mission Society
(£2000) CMS works with the Anglican church around the world and in the UK. It works to see a world transformed by the love of Jesus. Their General Secretary, Philip Mountstephen, is our link mission and regularly comes to speak to the church.
Look on their website www.churchmissionsociety.org to find out about people from all over the world who make up the community called ‘CMS’ and serve God in lots of different ways around the world.
Churches in Reading Drop in Centre (£500) CIRDIC provides for the homeless in Reading with free meals and a base for a shower, telephone, address, and a listening ear. It opens 3 days a week and is based at St Saviours church hall – some St John’s members help there including Sally D’Sa and Liz Bailey. www.cirdic.org.uk
(£6,300) Our church supports the work of Communicare which is behind Wycliffe church. It is well known in Newtown for the advice and help that it gives anyone needing it. Many members of the congregation are involved in working there including Sara Harwood, one of their advisors, Bridget Barwick, their treasurer, Andrew Taylor, the chair of trustees and many volunteer advisers (Ian Maynard, Sue Jupp, Sally d’Sa). In 2015 they saw over 4000 people.
Communicare is a volunteer led charity run by a team of 4 part time staff and 24 volunteers. Nepalese clients are assisted by Nepalese volunteers.
The team at Communicare are motivated by their Christian faith to help people in Reading, through giving information, advice and support and encouraging them to build their independence. http://www.communicare.org.uk
Faith Reading (£1000) operates Reading’s foodbank Readifood providing food for anyone in dire need. Alison Peyton, a member of our church, is their co-ordinator. Delivering an average of 100 food parcels a week to those in need who have been referred to them.
The International Nepal Fellowship
(£3000). We have strong links with INF and in the past our donations have helped to support the work of the Galpin family – Mark, Liz, Josh & Miriam. Mark was the Executive Director of United Mission to Nepal (UMN). The family returned to the UK this summer 2016 and Mark now works at All Nations Christian College, Herts.
Both United Mission to Nepal(UMN) & International Nepal Fellowship (INF) work as Christian Development agencies in Nepal – working in the poorest areas in health and development – and sharing the good news of the Gospel. http://www.inf.org/
RE-Inspired part of CTEER (Churches Together in Earley & East Reading)
We give £500/year to RE Inspired which aims to support local schools in religious education enabling pupils to develop spiritually and engage creatively with faith. 20 local churches send teams into schools to take lessons and assemblies. Many of our congregation volunteer with them and Richard Bainbridge is a trustee.
Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG).
(£1000) LAMB is a health & development project in north-west Bangladesh. Richard and Rosemary Croft used to work there supported by this church via TEAR Fund, and Rosemary continues to lead the UK charity (LHCF) raising money to pay for treatment for those too poor to pay their hospital bills.
(£1000) Each year St John’s School pupils elect a charity that they want to support and do lots of different fund-raising activities. This year they collected for Water Aid and for the post earthquake relief work in Nepal. The church gives a contribution to the projects they have chosen. IN 2016 these were;
- Money sent to INF to help after the Nepal Earthquake
- Water Aid bringing clean water to communities eg here in Ethiopia