The ‘Christadelphian Outreach Group’ is a newly formed Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) with three objectives:
- To promote and fund outreach projects in local communities and in street work
- To pilot outreach projects so that Christadelphian ecclesias and individual members can participate and grow local capacity and experience
- To raise general awareness of outreach within the UK Christadelphian Community through the provision of a hub of support, advice and ideas.
As believers, many of us do outreach work during the week as individuals, but the exciting thing is that as a group so much more can be achieved and our faith can be built up by working together as a team with a common vision.
The COG definition of outreach is simply to obey the commandment of the Lord Jesus to: “love your neighbour as yourself”. Which often means meeting people ‘where they are’ and, in compassion, helping to provide for their needs – be it company, clothes, food or education. This may well lead people to ask why we are doing these things, which can then lead to discussions about our faith. But the initial impetus of COG is that we simply want to help those in need. We have no hidden agenda. In this, we believe that we are obeying the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and responding to the grace and love that he has shown us (e.g. Matthew 5:14-16, 43-48; 25:31-46; John 13.34-35; Acts 9.36-39; Romans 12:8,20; James 2.14-18).
Many ecclesias are already trying different ways to reach out, whether it is something like a toddler group, coffee morning or whether it is actually going out of your hall and on to the streets to meet your ‘neighbours’ to provide company, food or clothing where needed. Whatever you choose to do, we want to help you and your ecclesia with support, funding and advice on how to reach out to those around you.
The COG launch project, ‘Bags of Love,’ surprised the group with the amazing response which it evoked from our community. In total you raised £30,000 and this meant COG could get 1500 sleeping bags on to the streets last winter through the 40 ecclesias which distributed them via local charities.
It is time to say a huge thank you to all of you who donated so generously and also encouraged us with your lovely emails and comments. It was uplifting to see the community work together with one mind in grace and love. We are planning to repeat a winter appeal along the same lines this year, God willing.
The COG have launched a knitting project called ‘knit2gether’! For those who like knitting, we are asking that you knit gloves, hats and scarves for the UK homeless. The COG has several collection points spread across the UK including a central factory base in the Midlands. [In Belgium knittingwork is welcome at our ecclesiae in Leuven and/or Mons.] These groups will either distribute the donated items themselves locally or send then to COG for distribution on to the streets in the winter months:
LONDON – BARNET
S. EAST – GUILDFORD & HORLEY
S. CENTRAL – OXFORD
EAST – CAMBRIDGE
N. EAST – WARDLEY
N. WEST – SHEFFIELD
S. WEST – EXETER
W. MIDLANDS – HEREFORD
MIDLANDS – WESTLEIGH, ASHBY & SOLIHULL
SCOTLAND – EAST KILBRIDE
Central collection – Access Irrigation Ltd, 15-17 Yelvertoft Road, Crick, Northants, NN6 7XS. Open office hours.
Please get in touch if you need our suggested patterns or some wool posting. Patterns are also available on the COG blogspot: https://christadelphianoutreachgroup.blogspot.com . Why not let your neighbours know about it and set up a local ‘Knit & Natter’ group at your hall? This is a great way to build relationships with your local community, talk about our hope and help the homeless together.
One of COG’s three objectives is to help you to fund your own outreach projects. COG hopes that they can then spread the ideas this generates and build up links. Their very first grant was to the Liverpool City Ecclesia to fund ‘survival bags’ for the refugees. They are now open to your applications. So whether you want to open a food bank, set up a café or have a new idea that needs funding to get off the ground, then please get in touch for an application pack or download one from their site. They plan to set up and distribute a series of outreach case studies which will help to get the ideas flowing!
Date for Your Diary
The COG are planning a Reach Out Day at Solihull Christadelphian Hall on September 8th 2018, God willing. They hope to have live music from ‘The Flying Scrolls’, workshops and outreach ideas etc. It’s a day for us all to get together and see what happens!
For further information, please contact the COG secretary, Sister Cilla Palmer: firstname.lastname@example.org