As we approach Christmas, I feel it is important to let you know how the remainder of the money raised last year has been spent.
Following the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan earlier in the year, the Outreach Group looked at what we could do to help refugees coming to Scotland. The charity, Refuweegee, seemed an appropriate place to direct our help.
They strive to ensure that people who have been forced to flee their homes arrive in Scotland to a warm welcome and to some of the things that help people feel more at home. Each welcome pack is accompanied by a welcoming ‘Letter fae a Local’ and some little Scottish gifts.
We donated £400 from our Christmas reserve, sent a number of letters, some Scottish treats, lots of reading materials and colouring books and pencils. Our donation was received with enthusiasm and appreciation, so much so that we intend to offer more help at Christmas (more of which later).
The remaining £233 left in our reserve will buy Meaningful Chocolate Advent Calendars, which include a 24 page story-activity book about the Christmas story, for children at Ruchazie Parish Church. Sadly these calendars are no longer available in supermarkets, but can be ordered direct from the company. If we have extra calendars, they will be given to the East Renfrewshire Foodbank.
Our friends at The Lodging House Mission were very appreciative to everyone at Mearns Kirk for our donations both of food and money at harvest time. They want us to know that these donations will help replenish their food store and enable them to continue to provide hot meals throughout the coming winter months. The provision of food is often the gateway to supporting the people they work with in other ways.
Unfortunately, our evening on 4 November with representatives from the Barnabas Fund had to be cancelled due to the number of people expected to attend being low. Going forward, I think we need to recognise that inviting people out to church events on dark evenings isn’t ideal and we need to find other ways and times to bring people together. The Barnabas Fund had put considerable effort into their preparation for our evening and I am determined that in the New Year we will rearrange this event.
Work has now started on our healthy eating low budget cookbook. There is a long way to go, but the project gives us an opportunity to work together constructively and to learn as we go.
Looking to Christmas and Gift Sunday on 5th December, members of the congregation are being asked to bring gifts for children and young people ranging in age from babies to seventeen. We are working with Orchardhill Parish Church on this and hope to be able to meet the needs of all the charities we support each year.
In addition to our usual charities, we will again be supporting Refuweegee. As well as Christmas gifts, they are looking for new warm clothing for children, so please bear this in mind when you are shopping. Can I ask that all gifts are left unwrapped, but if you can put them in a gift bag, that would be helpful?
We also intend to have an Outreach this Christmas to the most vulnerable members of our church family. If you are able to help with this or you know of someone who would benefit from being
remembered at Christmas, please let me know.
My number is 07770 747048.
Everyone on the Outreach Group sends their best wishes to you and to your families for a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.