For publication in the Shrewsbury Chronicle: circulation 15,000 (approx)
Recent news reports tell of charities concerned that their donations will reduce because of the current economic climate, on top of a reduction in revenue from investments. The same charities are reporting that the demand for their services is increasing due to the difficulties people face in this time of recession. It seems a terrific shame that at the point of greater need in our nation the resources to help are shrinking.
That got me thinking about the role we, as Christians, and Churches play. In Shrewsbury The Ark Project, Isaiah 58 Project and Shrewsbury Christian Mission all work in different ways to help those without housing or in extreme poverty.
Other projects such as the Basics Bank at the Barnabas Centre help those in debt. Churches run all sorts of activities for the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable in winter in a time of financial hardship. Parent and Toddler groups and children's activities are helping families with younger children.
The Fairtrade Shop on St John's Hill allows us an opportunity to promote trade justice with other nations in a time of upheaval in world trade. Churches raise thousands of pounds every year for charities in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, through larger agencies like Christian Aid, CAFOD and Tearfund or through activities like Trinity Churches in Meole Brace helping fund school buildings in Zambia.
Events like Soul Purpose in North Shrewsbury and The Noise in Bayston Hill see people actively looking to serve local people.
All of these, and many others not mentioned, help to express the love of God to those around and put our faith into practical action. Let us respond to the current economic situation by giving more, sharing more and doing more, as a blessing to the community in which we live and as a witness to Jesus.