Acts 435 chgarity talks to West Kirby church 2015

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undefinedSt Michael and All Angels Church, Newton, West Kirby, warmly welcomed Jenny Herrera, Executive Director of Acts 435 as guest speaker at a recent service.

Acts 435 is a Christian charity which takes inspiration from works of the early church when early disciples of the risen Christ shared their possessions and passed money to the apostles to give to anyone who had need. Such actions are described in the Book of Acts chapter 4 verses 32 to 35.

It’s an organisation that St Michael & All Angels supports through its charitable giving programme. Now in its fifth year, Acts 435 has just received and met its 5000th request, but needs more churches and individuals to participate as the demands for support continue to grow.

Those in need can make a request for help through participating churches and other participating charities, which will then be verified. The requests are posted on www.acts435.org.uk where donations can be made. All sorts of needs are posted and the people helped. Here are some examples…

- David lost his mum and is suffering from depression. He’s on benefits and faces having to downsize to a smaller home. Because his home now has extra bedrooms, he is being charged bedroom tax. Please help this gentleman so that he can have a fresh start.

- Angela's partner owns his own business, which unfortunately is not providing an adequate income for the family of four. Angela and her partner are victims of 'in work poverty'. Once they have paid for food, utilities and vehicle running costs (essential to the business) they have no money left and are finding themselves in increasing levels of debt. Increasing stress levels are having a major impact on the emotional wellbeing of all family members.

- A gentleman came into the food bank, his mobility suffering due to ill health. His doctor suggested he purchase various bits of equipment as well as going to the gym to help strengthen his muscles.  £90 will allow this to happen.

- A single homeless woman needs £100 for a bond so that she can rent a flat.

Requests come in on a wide variety of topics: food; heating; housing; ill health; disabilities; people struggling with debt; requests for clothes and items of furniture.

Jenny Herrera told the West Kirby congregation about a time in her own life when she experienced need. Returning home to York in 2008 with her husband, for the birth of their first child, after working as a missionary in Guatemala, she found neither her nor her husband could find work, even though Jenny was a qualified accountant. Her husband did not speak English; they had zero credit ratings and so could not access any financial support.

Support came through family and friends, and people they did not know. Jenny told of the humiliation and embarrassment of shopping for food with welfare vouchers and the dread of over spending their limit.

When an Acts 435 applicant receives the money (or item), the church and charity advocates are able to post a message of thanks from the applicant which then goes to those donors who gave to that particular request. This tool connects donors and applicants in a direct way whilst still maintaining confidentiality. The donors never meet the applicants but they know the donation directly helped.

Pictured TOP ... Jenny Herrera of Acts 435 with the Vicar of St Michael’s, the Revd Cheryl Coverley, and Canon Betty Renshaw, parish giving officer

BELOW ... Jenny speaks to the congregation at St Michael’s