I am writing this on the day the world marked the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, 50 years ago, and have been reminded of the importance of inspirational leadership and action.
The movement for Civil rights took a great leap forward when one woman, Rosa Parks, decided not to give up her seat on a bus. She was arrested and fined, but the resulting backlash was a bus boycott that resulted in changes in the law. Simple actions for justice can have remarkable effects. The presence of president Barrack Obama on the platform was a sign of progress, but in the same week, a large firm, Merrill Lynch, settled a race discrimination suit for $160 million. There is clearly a long way to go. In our own country too, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
We may not be called to make great speeches on a platform like Martin Luther King, but there will be opportunities to make a difference by simple actions like those of Rosa Parks. It is important that we have our eyes open to what is happening around us and be prepared to act to show the reality of God’s love.
I was encouraged by Archbishop Justin Welby’s comments about pay day loans but even more pleased to see that he proposed alternatives through Credit Unions. The one in Wakefield is called ‘White Rose’ and information can be found in the church. We are also looking at how we can support the work of ‘Christians against Poverty’ (CAP) that is working in our area to help people in debt. See below for further information about how CAP works and how it can help. If you are struggling with bills or know someone who is, do contact me and we will pass on contact details in confidence.
Of course in caring for our community, we have the wonderful resource of prayer. I have been inspired by a number of stories of answered prayer that show God is reaching out to us with love. As we encounter the realities of life around us let us not hesitate to pray for one another in our concerns.
Rev Bill Henderson
Free debt advice from CAP
Did you know that local people struggling with overwhelming debt can get free help? The acclaimed debt counselling charity, Christians Against Poverty (CAP) has partnered with St Helen’s Church, Sandal, and is already changing people’s lives through its in-depth service.
Wakefield centre manager Sarah Cutts said: “The Church has always been about offering hope and we’re really pleased to be able to give a tried-and-tested route out of debt alongside other great free debt advice in the area like the Citizens Advice Bureau.
“There is a lot in the Bible about looking after the poorest. In our society, a lot of poverty is debt-related so our congregation has been working hard to open a CAP centre to help get people back on track.”
CAP offers a uniquely in-depth, caring service to people with spiralling personal debt. Every client is visited in their own home, the charity does all the negotiating with creditors and local volunteers offer support to each person face-to-face until the day they are debt free.
Sarah added: “Debts can happen when a relationship breaks down, or someone loses their job, or through bereavement – so often when people are least able to cope with a financial headache. We’re just so pleased to be able to partner the care of our church with the financial expertise of CAP’s head office in Bradford.”
The charity has 233 centres around the UK currently supporting £73m of secondary debts for its clients regardless of income, age, gender, background or faith. The free debt counselling has won a string of accolades including being described as “unsurpassed” by TV’s Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis.
To find out more www.capdebthelp.org or call 0800 328 0006