At the beginning of September we launched this year’s Shoebox Appeal at St Mary’s. Berkeley churches and other community organisations have supported Operation Christmas Child for most of the 25 years it has been happening. It started in a small way with a truck of shoeboxes full of gifts for children heading across Europe to orphanages in Romania. Now the shoeboxes go to more than 150 countries and last year more than a million were delivered from Britain. Operation Christmas Child is run under the umbrella of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief and development organisation.
Each shoebox spreads a message of love and pure pleasure to children in poverty at Christmas. You can be part of that by filling a wrapped shoebox with of gifts. Please collect one of the Samaritan’s Purse leaflets from the entrance table in St Mary’s Church, or go to the website: https://www.samaritans-purse.org.uk/what-we-do/operation-christmas-child/how-to-pack-a-shoebox/ Be sure to follow the guidance on the sort of gifts that can go into a shoebox.
At St Mary’s we’re asking people to bring completed shoeboxes to church on Sunday 1st November. Afterwards they will be gathered with other Berkeley shoeboxes ready for transport by truck.
We were delighted to receive a grant of £4,000 from the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust towards our appeal to rehang the bells on a rebuilt frame and to carry out essential maintenance on the Bell Tower. The cheque was presented at our Benefice service at the end of August.
The Appeal Fund has now raised about a third of our target amount, so we have some way to go. Donations can be sent to the “St Mary’s PCC Bell Tower Appeal”, c/o The Vicarage, Church Lane, Berkeley, GL13 9BN. For further information or to obtain a Gift Aid form please contact firstname.lastname@example.org