Barnsley churches, which have been working together to set up a crisis fund to support those most in need, have helped their first client.
This week, the Area Dean of Barnsley and Parish Priest for St Mary the Virgin and St Paul the Apostle, Barnsley, the Rev Canon Stephen Race announced he had made his first modest dip into the Deanery Homeless Fund.
Said Fr Stephen: “Someone turned up who needed to get to St George’s Crypt in Leeds. He was homeless, had run out of his medication and knew that if he could get to Leeds (he knew the way from the station to St George’s), he could get the help he needed.
“Luckily, there was a bring and share lunch at church, so he sat through Mass and then joined the queue and had a good meal,” he added.
The Barnsley Deanery Homeless Fund was set up in response to the former Bishop of Wakefield’s initiative to give every church in the diocese £100 for a community project to mark his tenth anniversary as diocesan bishop and to celebrate the Christian churches year of mission, Hope 2014.
Most of the 20 churches that make up the Barnsley Deanery area decided they wanted to set up a community project for the more vulnerable in the town so pledged to each grow their £100 into £1,000 and pool their resources to build up a crisis fund of money with which they could help people in need.
St John’s, Dodworth used their £100 to help promote and launch their first Christmas market in the High Street last year, Silkstone invested in a weekly handicraft group which has been making mice to sell and raised enough to donate £1,500 into the pot while Cawthorne held a just like new sale and its knitting group helped boost their £100.
At St John’s Cudworth, vicar, Father David Nicholson has just handed over a cheque for £1,000 to the Fund after members of the congregation there have been busy growing their original £100 with a variety of fundraising events including a sponsored slim, selling pickles, selling knitted/crafty things, cards and a coffee evening.
The Revd Canon Stephen Race said: “All of us here in the Barnsley Deanery are well aware the impact the recession has been having on those living in our communities. People are really struggling and many of us have already been helping with food and clothing banks.
“The gift of £100 made us realise we had an opportunity to live out the gospels. We could really change lives if we all worked together to reach out to those in need.”
Please do look out for people who might benefit from the Fund in the Barnsley Deanery.