St Nics Stories

Jeannette

I first became a Christian Aid Supporter in my first year at University in 1969 when I joined a group called Third World First which encouraged students to pledge a percentage of their Grant (those were the days!) to an Aid Agency involved in the "Third World".  I chose Christian Aid as it was a Christian organisation,which involved local Churches and Christian partners in projects  throughout the world. The Micah exhortation "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" has challenged me all my life, as has Jesus' exhortation to "Love your neighbour as yourself ".  I was privileged to work as a Social Worker in Nigeria in the 70's and for the last ten years have spent time every year in Rwanda and Uganda. Although I have not  encountered Christian Aid projects in those countries, I have witnessed  poverty in all its wretchedness, and have always been encouraged  that Christian Aid has so many projects throughout the world that  address similar  needs to those that  I have encountered.   

Members of St Nics have always played a part in supporting Christian Aid locally by faithfully undertaking the House to House collection within the Parish   during Christian Aid Week, as well as collecting at Durham Station, and supporting a Church  Christian Aid Lunch.  They have also been inspired over many years to engage in nationwide campaigns such as Jubilee 2000, the Make Poverty History Campaign of 2005, and in 2007 St Nicks hosted walkers on the nationwide Cut the Carbon March  which aimed to raise awareness of the urgency of addressing the issue of Climate Change.  Christian Aid has never lost its focus in continuing to be at the forefront of supporting campaigns that affect justice and the poor, which is why it still plays such an important and often prophetic role for the Church as a whole. 

 In 2018 I visited the West Bank under the auspices of the Amos Trust.  We visited a village where house demolitions were a regular occurrence because the area had recently  been designated an area of Greater Jerusalem, and hence Palestinian houses in that area were now deemed illegal.  I shall never forget the desperation of the young family whose home had been bulldozed two weeks before, and were living in a makeshift tent. Among the list of agencies that were helping this village I was heartened to find  a Christian Aid sticker on the wall of the Community Centre.  Although I have never been able to find out any more details it was clear that Christian Aid had some sort of involvement in that desperate situation.

in 2019  I spent a day with Christian Aid  Kenya  visiting a  project which supported families affected by HIV/Aids.  Like all Christian Aid projects it had the support of local Churches, in this case the Church of the Redeemed, a local Pentecostal Church. I met a  young widower with HIV who struggled to support his children, and had received a loan from the project  to start his own tree growing nursery. This enabled him to pay his children's school fees, and he also  received ongoing practical support to maintain the enterprise.  Another family I met  was headed by a young women who was struggling to care for her many young siblings following the death of both parents to Aids.   She was encouraged to be part of a community finance project which loaned her the money for school fees, and also offered her the  much needed  practical and emotional support to care for the young children in her care. 

During these days of the Corona crisis it is the poor in so many countries who are disproportionally disadvantaged.I know that the cost of basic foodstuffs in Uganda has skyrocketed, and many lack money to buy soap and other vital essentials.This year  Christian Aid cannot raise money in the ways  it has done in the past, yet with finances already greatly stretched resulting in  staff redundancies and office closures, our help is needed more than ever. Do not disappoint the many thousands who so desperately need our help. 

Alison and Dick

How did you first get involved with Christian Aid?

Christian Aid had always had good public profile in St Nic's (thank you to Janice and Jeanette). It drew our attention to the charity's work and we offered help.

What does it look like for you to be involved with Christian Aid?

I (Alison) found delivering and collecting envelopes a challenging task - I am not a natural "cold caller" at doors! I preferred helping at the simple lunch we held at St Nic's where we heard from speakers who could tell stories of the work abroad.  I (Dick) offered to help collecting with a bucket at Durham Railway Station for several years, and find it a privilege to serve in this way.  Although the amounts collected are not great, the potential impact is high in reminding all travellers who pass by that there is Christian Aid out there. 

How does your faith in Jesus encourage you to support Christian Aid's fight for justice?

If we are to love our neighbours as ourselves then we must work to achieve justice and ensure that we are not causing the poverty of others, by our actions, or our inaction. The "helplessness" we in the UK feel at the moment due to Covid-19 is tiny in comparison to the suffering of the countries where Christian Aid work.  Christian Aid are the Good Samaritans working on our behalf on the "front line" when disasters/wars strike and where there is re-building needed, as well as their efforts to right injustice in the most inhospitable and impoverished areas of the world.

Anne

How did you first get involved with Christian Aid?

I'd been a Tear Fund supporter since the 1970s and served on a Save the Children Fund committee in the 1980s, but also began going to 'Churches Together'-style bread and cheese lunches in Christian Aid week well before we moved to Durham in 1991.

 

What does it look like for you to be involved with Christian Aid?

Some years I've taken part in house-to-house collections in Christian Aid Week, usually distributing envelopes and returning several days later to collect them (hopefully full of money!). More recently I've stood on a platform at Durham station with a collecting bucket, leaflets and a winning smile... Jamie and I also allocate part of our regular Gift Aid giving to Christian Aid for its long-term development projects, and have occasionally been to special fundraising events. We feel confident giving to the Disasters Emergency Committee too, knowing that Tear Fund and Christian Aid are among the charities involved.

 

How does your faith in Jesus encourage you in your work/contributions to Christian Aid?

I think the main motivation for supporting any Christian development and relief agency has to be the words of Jesus in Matthew 25.40, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”