Thought for the Day : Monday 25 January

Thought for the Day by Alan Griggs (St Chad’s)

Ubi Caritas et Amor (Where Love is, there is God) – a Taize chant

When I see TV pictures of doctors and nurses almost at the point of exhaustion as they care for those who are desperately ill, I don’t worry whether they are believers or not, I want to thank God; for God is with them in what they are doing.

When I see pictures of those working voluntarily in foodbanks to help feed those the hungry, I thank God, for God is with them whether they acknowledge Him or not.

When I hear of the work of the Rainbow Cafe at All Hallows, I give thanks to God.

When I hear that the Samaritans are listening to many more people than usual who are are feeling desperate, I give thanks.

As I hear of those who are campaigning for climate change, and looking forward with hope to the world environment conference in Glasgow in November, I rejoice that they are working for the justice and care for God’s planet.-

There is sometimes an arrogance amongst people of faith, that we think that we are the ones who are doing God’s work, and forget the vast numbers, outside of the religious groups, who are doing the same.

One of the largest secular organisations in the world working for compassion and service to the community, have a branch in Headingley. It is the Rotary Club.

Some of their work is overseas. Alongside the Bill Gates Foundation, Rotary is the largest donor working for the eradication of Polio throughout the world; there are now only a few cases left in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Africa is polio-free.

Headingley Rotary supports Lend with Care; this allows people like us to make donations of as little as £15. which then make interest-free loans to third-world entrepreneurs ; these loans are paid back, every so often, in small amounts; the money is then re-offered in further loans. The Headingley Club raised around £300 which have resulted, over time, in 128 loans totalling £2000, helping 1076 entrepreneurs and creating 508 new jobs.

Much of the club’s efforts have been directed to the local community. You may have seen them, collecting for charities, wearing yellow tabards, at the Arndale Centre. They help with literacy for those who have been struggling with reading at Caring for Life; help with St Peter’s Primary School, an inner-city school with children of more than 30 nationalities. The Club has organised (when there are no Covid restrictions), opportunities for passers-by to have their blood pressure checked at the Arndale Centre; help has been given to local foodbanks.

At Christmas 2019 Rotary sponsored a Window Display competition in local shops; it was not possible to do this in 2020; but it is planned to hold the competition again in December 2021.

The Rotary motto is we’re for communities, for Rotarians themselves ‘Service before Self‘.

Good work – God’s work – is being done in the local community, not only by the churches.

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