Churches team up for Christian Aid
Churches in the north-eastern corner of Cardiff gathered together for a unique programme of fund-raising activities over a weekend in October, following a challenge from local Christian Aid coordinator David Collins
'Christian Aid Week remains the focus of our giving,' he said, 'but we are mindful that the work of Christian Aid continues all year round, 24 hours a day.'
David’s son Rhys was inspired by this and, together with partner Liz, hit upon the crazy idea of organising 24 hours of continuous activities in one venue, Christchurch United Church, Llanedeyrn (a member of the South Wales Baptist Association). After much planning a package of activities, worship opportunities and entertainment was put together to coincide with Christian Aid’s Harvest Appeal.
As people entered the church they were confronted with displays of the world’s needs and of Christian Aid’s work to alleviate them. The ‘marathon’ began with a simple opening prayer before the first event, a traditional Coffee and Cake morning. Next up was a Village Fete with traditional games such as “Splat the Rat”, a chocolate fountain and popcorn in the church hall, followed by a choral concert and a Quiz Night. The evening concluded with a Late Night Reflection by candlelight.
But that was by no means the end as there were still 13 hours to go! A loyal cohort of adults and teens remained in church throughout the night. They made pizza, played music, baked cakes, built a cardboard house to represent the plight of the homeless and explored the work of Christian Aid in a Bible study. They also used social media to spread news of their efforts around the world and received one response from none other than Sooty and Sweep! Although some flagged, others managed to stay awake.
Dawn was welcomed with an early Eucharist – only six hours to go! This was followed by a full English breakfast, further craft activities and socialising. Proceedings were brought to an inspiring conclusion with an ecumenical service in which the preacher challenged the congregation to think of showing God’s love as a 24/7 occupation.
More than 200 people from at least eight churches had visited the venue across the 24 hours – some merely to grab a cuppa but others who stayed all night. Many local organisations, businesses and individuals – including the Lord Mayor of Cardiff – donated raffle and quiz prizes, food and resources to help stage the event.
Ultimately nearly £2500 was raised, to be multiplied by generous EU funding. Perhaps even more important, the event brought many Christians together and enhanced their awareness of Christian Aid. It had been exhausting, but worthwhile.