The Church by Chris Williamson
Sometimes we feel that there are not enough people in the community who wish to help. Of course, that’s not true. Nearly everyone wants to do good, and although the media focus on the less savoury aspects of some of the churches, in truth, your local place of worship is often a good place to start. You won’t find people there selling expensive online courses on how to find inner peace. But you may well find people who are willing to give free help from visiting people who are isolated to having a chat over a cup of tea and slice of cake.
- Green Pastures is a wonderful organisation that asks churches to invest their money in them instead of with the bank (a better investment). They then use the money to buy properties to give stable homes to homeless people. Some of those in their care have got off drink and drunks, found work and left abusive relationships, to live safely with their children.
- Green Sisters is a super read from a scholar who spends time meeting the world’s ‘eco-nuns’ who are replacing manicured lawns with community gardens to grow free food, installing solar panels on their roofs and driving around in electric cars. The best line is from the Mother Superior who says ‘If we truly saw the Divine in a potato, we could not turn it into Pringles!’
- Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals has a guide to help you become an animal-friendly church. You can find guidance notes and a free poster. For Roman Catholics, Catholic Concern for Animals has a magazine and lots of help – St Francis of Assisi would approve!) SARX (a Christian charity for animal welfare) has a free 40-days with God’s creatures guide for Lent.
- CreatureKind is a free course for churches offering a gentle introduction to animal welfare.
Concern for how animals are treated, is not a topic most churches spend a lot of time on. But if we sing ‘All creatures of our God and King’, we ought to spend time thinking about the fate of those creatures, and the responsibility as Christians to make their lives better. Ed Brown
We strive to out what Jesus said was most important: loving God fully and loving our neighbours as ourselves. Climate change is already impacting our neighbours and God’s creation around the world. Therefore we commit to living faithfully as good stewards of creation, advocating alongside those who are poor and supporting political leaders when they stand up for climate action. Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
Churches to Help the Homeless
The media often focus on everything that is wrong with churches and religion. But in fact, most local churches do a grand job helping the community, never asking for anything in return. These churches and organisations do wonderful work to help homeless people in the community, check them out – either for help or to get involved.
- The Salvation Army has many volunteers to help homeless people. You can also donate unwanted clothes & shoes to their charity banks, found in most major towns.
- Street Pastors is a network of volunteers who offer emotional support to anyone vulnerable. These are the guys who hand out flip-flops to drunk young ladies!
- Emmaus is a charity set up by French priest Abbé Pierre decades ago, after learning of a women who died clutching her eviction notice (followed by the baby of a homeless couple freezing to death on the street). Donate furniture & bric-a-brac and items are refurbished by homeless people who get a job, home and salary (white goods are PAT-tested, before being sold on in their nationwide shops).
- Hope into Action was inspired by meeting a newly-released prisoner, who was drinking on a bench, as he had nowhere to go. It works with over 50 churches who invest in property instead of the bank. These buildings are then used to give a leg-up for society’s forgotten: addicts, former prostitutes, people fleeing abuse, survivors of trafficking and those with mental health issues.
- Housing Justice has volunteers at local night shelters. Other charities that help include Church Homeless Trust, Glass Door & Robes (London), Cambridge Churches Homeless Project & Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness.