UK churches called to model early church

Cecile with one of her grandchildren

Samaritan's Purse is encouraging churches to support the world's poor by modelling the early church and sharing what they have.

The charity wants more churches to be inspired by Acts, which describes the early church members as holding everything in common and pooling resources to ensure no one went without.

Churches in the UK are being asked to do the same in order to reap hope for some of the world's neediest families this Harvest time.

Samaritan's Purse UK executive director Simon Barrington was inspired after a visit to Kamweru Parish in Rwanda, which is going back to the book of Acts and sharing.

Whereas in the past, most families in the village could only afford one meal a day, people are now working together to plant and grow crops, raise livestock and join savings groups.

"What we've seen happening in local churches right across Africa and Central Asia is them pooling their resources to look after the most vulnerable families in their communities," explains Simon Barrington, Samaritan's Purse UK Executive Director.

"We wanted to do something in the UK that models what's happening in places like Rwanda and this Harvest is the perfect time to do it."

Samaritan's Purse has created special Raising Families resource packs for use this Harvest time.

Churches are being asked to consider hosting a My Promise event to engage and enthuse worshippers in giving towards needy families in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia.

An accompanying DVD tells the story of how churches in Rwanda have responded to poverty in their communities.

Grandmother Cecile had to take on five young grandchildren when her son and daughter-in-law died. The local church, trained by Samaritan's Purse, introduced Cecile to other vulnerable families in her community. They prayed together, encouraged each other, shared their knowledge and pooled their money and other resources.

Cecile said: "When I look back and see all that I have been able to do, it's all due to the encouragement I received from the group at church…the group also helped me in cultivating crops which helped me earn money in the harvest to pay for school fees and healthcare.

"I want my grandchildren to know God, to pray to Him and to understand that He is able to meet all their needs."

Fleet Methodist Church is one of the churches getting involved this Harvest.

Phil Smith, Worship and Prayer Vision Team Co-ordinator at the church said: "Linking a project such as this to Harvest is both a natural and challenging concept. Most Christians in the UK have little connection with a farmer harvesting a crop, yet we all 'give' at harvest.

"Samaritan's Purse has put in place a realistic project that allows Christians throughout the UK and wider to give a little of what we do have to make a life-changing difference to others."

Mr Barrington concluded: "I hope that churches will grasp the fact that when they come together and pool their resources that they can have an impact on vulnerable children and families. In doing that they'll understand who we are as the body of Christ that we are one family globally and we can do things together, which makes a world of difference."

To find out more go to: www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/raising-families-harvest

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