Way Open for Social Justice Projects in Avonside

First published 13th December 2018

Its amazing how God opens doors! Recently, the Anglican churches of the Avonside Mission Area threw open their doors for their annual Lent Course. Each week was an opportunity to meet in a different church building. In the case of St Andrews, Avonmouth, there was also chance to visit the Northwest Bristol Social Justice Hub which has just opened in new premises attached to the recently-refurbished church.

As well as offering a friendly welcome and listening ear to its clients, the Hub operates a Foodbank and a Homebank, collecting and distributing food and domestic items. Donated items from duvets and bedding, cooking utensils and cleaning materials are all given a grateful new home. Electrical products like toasters, kettles, and kitchen appliances are also much appreciated but, of course, they need to be PAT safety tested before distribution.

We have 308 agencies who hold our vouchers and 29,100 people have so far been helped from the Foodbank, and 15 families from the new Homebank.

Emma Murray, the Hubs manager, takes up the story. An occasional volunteer did what he could but we were overwhelmed with generous donations. Then one morning a man came in with some items and, as he left, he asked if we wanted any help with the PAT testing. He had just retired from working as a qualified tester and would be happy to help. God had opened up another door! Emmas answer to How can we help? Pray and donate. We've just had our 8th anniversary. We have 308 agencies who hold our vouchers and 29,100 people have so far been helped from the Foodbank, and 15 families from the new Homebank.

One organisation working closely alongside the Avonmouth Social Justice Hub is national charity Christians Against Poverty, which operates from offices based at St Edyths Church in Sea Mills. Local centre manager Debz Spinney explains that the vision of Christians Against Poverty is to serve the poor and save the lost a message she takes around to local churches and which she also brought to the Avonside Lent Course. Avonside residents Rachel and Lyn were only too delighted to respond. Rachel has just joined the charity as a befriender - visiting clients alongside a debt coach and supporting them in becoming debt free. CAP brings hope into peoples lives, she says. Lyn heard about the charitys work and immediately volunteered to support it in prayer. I left church that Sunday with a new unexpected purpose to support Christians Against Poverty and to step out and pray with people in the next-door parish. I love it!

For more information on the work of the Avonside Mission Area, Avonmouth Social Justice Hub or Christians Against Poverty, or to enquire about how to get involved, please contact Rev Simon Potter at assocvicar@stmarysb.org.uk.

Alternatively, head over to the St Andrew's and St Peter's churches website or the Bristol North West Foodbank website.

The Avonside Mission Area is a mission partnership between five Anglican churches in North West Bristol. Together they are pursuing Christs transformation of their communities; socially, culturally and spiritually, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Mission Areas are a strategic initiative of the Diocese of Bristol bringing parishes together to serve alongside one another with a coordinated approach to mission, sharing resources and ideas. Learning from the Mission Areas is collected and shared to inspire and resource mission activity across the Diocese.

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