Photograph courtesy and copyright www.henleystandard.co.uk
Dear Visitors and Friends,
Thank you for visiting the Stoke Row Independent Chapel website. After celebrating harvest we have something more somber to think about this month. We hope you find it interesting and helpful. We have also added the information about the Art and Craft Exhibition and Sale which is in November this year.
Harvest Celebration is a wonderful time of the year to give thanks for ‘all good gifts around us’! But what of those who can’t give thanks and find themselves in adverse situations with little or no food on their plate and no roof over their heads? How do we treat them? Many people say, ‘I am a Christian and don’t know how to react when I see a beggar in the street or am approached by one asking for money”. What do I do? How can we help those who appear to be in need? How do we know we are not being taken for a ride?’ Our brother–in-law, Mike Curtis, founder of Gloucester City Mission, offers us this advice: -
Of utmost importance, is showing love and care. Be prepared to listen and treat the person with dignity don’t judge them – you don’t know their story. Please don’t give money. You may well be helping to kill them as money may go on drugs or drink; the average life expectancy for a street person is now 38 years. A beggar can accumulate £250 daily. Pray inwardly for the person and for wisdom. Offer to buy food, hot drinks, maybe supermarket gift vouchers. If you are able, offer to buy a sleeping bag, clothes or shoes, but please keep labels and receipts or the goods can be exchanged for cash. Be prepared for people to get angry or agitated if you don’t give money; it could well be that they are in need of their next fix and are getting desperate. Often a street person will tell you that they need to get somewhere else urgently, usually Scotland! We offer to buy a coach or rail ticket, but insist on paying by credit card and keep the receipt, otherwise the moment you have gone the ticket will be exchanged for cash.
By all means buy a copy of the Big Issue, but beware of phony sellers, ‘down to their last magazine’, typically one that is battered and three months out of date. Big Issue sellers work hard, are registered and have a card to show that they can legitimately sell the magazine. The Bible tells us to be ‘as innocent as doves, yet shrewd as snakes’ or ‘Wise up and get street wise’. Some of the street people have missed their vocation; they could win Oscars! Many often don’t see you as a human being; they see you as a source and means of funding a habit. To quote one of our street friends, “I always look for cars that have a ‘Fish Badge’, I wait for the owners to return and then approach them for money. Christians are an easy, soft target.” Never go down any alleyway, remote place or into a flat or room with someone; stay in public areas. If a person does ‘kick off,’ remove yourself from the vicinity and seek help if necessary.
We need to acquaint ourselves as to what local help there is available: drop-ins, soup kitchens, food banks, night shelters or housing groups, help with debt, substance and alcohol abuse. Our local Citizen’s Advice Bureaus are wonderful and a good first stopping place. To be able to point them in the right direction for helpm is helpful to you. Above all we need to show the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. These people, in need, are very often damaged, hurting and abused people, or people who have fallen on hard times and not seen a way out. Jesus our Saviour died on the cross for them, He loves them and wants them in the Kingdom of God. If you feel that you want to give money it is best to give it to an organisation or charity in your locality that works with homeless people, then you can be confident that it will be used in a wise way.
At the Chapel we send our donated foods to a Charity in Reading, Readifoodbank. If you would like to know more about their work, we have a representative coming to speak at Wednesday Night @ 8, on the evening of October 8. This is a monthly gathering open to all! As we give thanks, our hearts turn to those in great need in other countries too. These last months have shown us how difficult life can be for many innocent and abused victims. We pray for them regularly and give to known groups who are helping so that their work can continue on the ground, even in spite of the danger to themselves.
If you want more information or wish to worship with us please come along. We are an independent Chapel, a Christian fellowship for Christians of any denomination, united in our desire to worship and serve God.
Be blessed both in your giving and your thanksgiving,
Take every aspect of our lives, individually and as a community, cleanse us from our sin that we may be used for Your Kingdom and bring glory to Your Holy and Righteous Name. We are not here to do our own bidding, to seek our own fulfillment or our own glory. We are here to please You.
We yield ourselves to You, to seek to know You, to love You, to obey You, and to grow in holy reverence as we seek to reflect Your light in our living in our community and beyond.
We choose today to love and honour You and to live in Your way. We believe and trust in Your promises that You will walk with us and guide us through the coming days.
We long to serve each other and be alongside each other as Jesus taught us - reaching out the hand of kindness and fellowship to each person we meet along the way.
We trust You, Lord to do that which we cannot do for ourselves. We open our lives to be filled with Your Holy Spirit as by his grace he bestows on us His spiritual gifts in your Church.
Teach us, lead us, and empower us to love and fear Your name; keeping us ever in Your constant love.
In Jesus name we pray together,