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news

idea november/december 2009

Give this Christmas away Christian relief and development charity Samaritan’s Purse is encouraging UK churchgoers to show compassion to vulnerable children overseas this Christmas. The Alliance member agency, which last year sent over 1.2 million gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to children in the developing world, is also encouraging Christians to “give this Christmas away”. “Circumstances are worrying for many people in this country right now, but it is an awful lot worse for the vulnerable children and families we work with overseas,” said Simon Barrington, executive director of Samaritan’s Purse UK. “Many have seen their conditions worsen as a result of the global recession. These are the very people that we should be showing compassion to right now.” In addition to encouraging participation in Operation Christmas Child, Samaritan’s Purse is urging families to think of other ways to “give this Christmas away”, like sponsoring a child overseas or volunteering at a nearby homeless shelter. “Giving even a fraction of our usual

Christmas spend away for the sake of those less fortunate than ourselves can make a real difference,” said Barrington. “Our experience at Samaritan’s Purse is that there is real power in giving away what we have, even if we feel we don’t have much to give in the first place.” As part of this initiative, a Give This

Christmas Away Facebook group will encourage people to post ideas for giving Christmas time or money to those less fortunate. On 18 November, the final day for collection of gift shoeboxes, Samaritan’s Purse will publish the top 10 ways to give Christmas away. samaritans-purse.org.uk

Practical presents With three quarters of people in the UK admitting to wasting £50 on unwanted Christmas presents every year – a total of £2 billion – international development charity Practical Action is appealing to holiday shoppers to buy a gift that could make a difference in someone’s life. The charity’s Practical Presents scheme allows people to choose unique, clever gifts including fluffy ducks for families in Bangladesh to provide eggs and a livelihood through breeding or smoke hoods in Nepal to reduce smoke pollution. Stephen Harvey of Practical Action said, “Two thirds of people have said they would rather receive one less Christmas gift and have a charitable donation made instead. Buying a Practical Present will mean your friends and family still receive a gift, while knowing it really is making someone’s life better.” practicalpresents.org.uk

Church Army

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Just ‘being’ on the plinth Church Army evangelist Alison Wooding held an hour-long prayer vigil on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, in the wee small hours of Sunday 2 August. During her one-hour slot in sculptor Anthony Gormley’s One & Other installation, Wooding prayed for fellow evangelists, friends and family members while also publicising Church Army's Life to the Full campaign and the new interactive website Make Jesus Famous. "I am fascinated by the spirituality of the Desert Fathers and people who did wild and wacky things for God,” said Wooding.

“In the desert and at the margins of society, the Desert Fathers and Mothers sought God – a solitary way of life that has puzzled people down the ages.” After her stint, Wooding described the sensation that only minutes had passed, rather than a whole hour. She also stressed that she was promoting the need for us all to sit still and just “be with God”, and that it was remarkable how the noise – including occasional heckling – died down halfway into her prayer time. churcharmy.org.uk

Profile for Evangelical Alliance

idea November / December 2009  

In this edition: 'It's a justice issue' , 'Simplify and strengthen Christmas', 'Talking about nativity', 'The Basics: Diversity of culture,...

idea November / December 2009  

In this edition: 'It's a justice issue' , 'Simplify and strengthen Christmas', 'Talking about nativity', 'The Basics: Diversity of culture,...