On Advent Sunday (2 December) Methodists around Britain will celebrate and raise money for the work of a fund which gives grants to support work across the country's communities, not least among the most vulnerable in society.
All of the money raised by the Advent Offering will go to support grants to fund projects like the Nene Valley Christian Family Refuge, which helps women and children to break free – and stay free – from domestic abuse.
The Refuge hosts drop-in sessions to provide advice, support and friendship to women and children who might otherwise suffer in silence.
The Methodist Church cites the example of Marie (not her real name), who came to the Refuge after her partner began to abuse her.
“The refuge was not a lonely place, everybody was in the same situation and we all tried to help each other,” she said. “I don’t know what I would have done without the support. Knowing there is someone on the other end of the phone 24/7 is lovely. One of the biggest things I learned on a course called Stay Free, run by NVCFR, was that it wasn’t my fault. I feel proud. I have come a long way. I feel very safe."
“Advent is a time when people get ready – ready for Christmas, for parties, catering, celebrating and sharing together,” commented the Rev Dr Mark Wakelin, President of the Methodist Conference.
He added: “It’s also a time when we can get ready for Jesus, get ready to join in his call to love and care for God’s world and his people, whatever their circumstances and wherever they may be. I know that, through the huge generosity of the Methodist people, gifts given in the Advent Offering will help us to live out that calling in our communities throughout Britain today.”
* The Advent Offering worship resources are available for free and can be downloaded here. Giving envelopes, posters and bookmarks can be ordered from Methodist Publishing (tel 01733 235962).
* Donations can also be made to the Mission in Britain Fund online at www.justgiving.com/missioninbritain/Donate or by sending a cheque to: Fundraising Manager, Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR. Please make cheques payable to 'Mission in Britain Fund'.