Up and down the country, people are struggling financially due to low income, zero hour contracts, redundancies, benefits sanctions and ill health. However a Church-led, online charitable giving site is giving people the opportunity to offer financial assistance to those struggling in their local community.
Called ACTS 435, the initiative was set up by the Archbishop of York in 2010. It was inspired by the works of the early church, as described in the Acts 4:32 to 4:35. The early disciples of the risen Christ shared their possessions, and passed money to the apostles to give to anyone who had need.
It works by posting online via the ACTS435 website, real cases of need, which users can decide to contribute funds to or not; you can restrict searches to your region too. The safeguard is that requests for help can only come once received and verified by a designated church advocate.
Together Canterbury is seeking to establish a network of advocates, supporters and donors across the Diocese. Keith Berry, Together Canterbury Officer for the Diocese said that the scheme already works very well across the country: “A typical case might be an elderly couple needing a new fridge, or a young mother fleeing domestic abuse requiring help to buy nappies for her baby. ACTS435 works because it recognises that people want to give, often a little, sometimes more, to people with genuine need.”
Participating in Acts 435
It is quick and simple for a church to get involved with Acts 435. After the PCC has approved the scheme, the appointed Advocate (church volunteer) can be trained and operational in less than a week.
Once a local Advocate is appointed, churches should try to attract as many people in their area as possible to be Donors. This is as simple as signing up with the ACTS435 website and noting preferences for the area or type of work. Donations are in multiples of £5.
For more information contact Keith Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07834 573668