Thought for the Day by Gill Griggs (St. Chad’s)
I guess that by now our Christmas decorations are back in their boxes; we may be stumbling across a few overlooked Christmas cards, but not a great deal else. However, I wonder if you already know these words about the Legacy of Christmas. written by the American, Howard Thurman, in the Twentieth Century.
When the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flock,
the work of Christmas begins.
He continues with these challenging words about this “work of Christmas”:
to find the lost,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to make music in the heart.
Christians in Headingley, if they knew this poem, may wonder what they could do to respond to these challenges. To start with, what are people’s hopes and needs in this area. Needless to say, there are already charitable groups responding to people’s needs and our efforts would often be most helpful when we join with them.
After I retired in 1996, I sometimes went to St, Oswald’s, a daughter church of St Chad’s located in the Highbury area near the former Tannery. Sadly, the numbers attending declined, and the church eventually closed. The buildings and the land were sold.
After much discussion and heart-searching, the PCC, agreed that a sum matching the sale proceeds should be ear-marked for outreach work. This presented an opportunity to think out how this “work of Christmas” could be done. A local person was employed on a short-term basis to work with us and produce an audit of the strengths and needs of the local community.
This led to a decision to invest £90,000 in the Leeds Community Foundation. The amount was doubled with a government matching grant. This was used to create “St Chad’s Fund”. Every year, for the last 10 years, guided by St Chad’s, the Fund has paid out grants to local projects meeting the fund criteria. The Funders Report below shows how the process worked in 2018. [Follow The Link To See The 2018 Funders Report]
In 2019, grants went to:
a) The Friends of Becket Park for tree-planting.
b) OPAL [Older Peoples Action in the Community] for new disability access
c) Irish Arts Foundation- to facilitate creative workshops.
d) Leeds Combined Arts- to create a music and poetry walk.
e) Purple Patch-Arts for a wildlife environment for people with learning disabilities.
f) Rainbow Cafe at All Hallows. For support funding and kitchen equipment.
In 2020, in response to the pandemic, the Grant went to the LCF Community Resilience Fund, in support of isolated and vulnerable communities across Leeds.
Grants are relatively small, but as well as being of practical help, they can boost morale.
The work of Christmas goes on.
Funders Report 2018