Christians Against Poverty
Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield, Sunday 26th January 2020
Today was one of those weeks that there was only one Sunday service and so the whole church gathered to worship together at 10 am rather than separate traditional and contemporary services at 9 am and 10:45.
Not that the early start made a lot of difference to my wife Linda and I. The radio alarm still went off at eight and I still got up to make two cups of coffee and get back into bed. I also had time to cook bacon and egg sandwiched for breakfast before we set off for the walk to church. We were fortunate to be offered a lift and were there with plenty of time to go.
The church was not uncomfortably cold. Te first thing we were told was that we were limping on one boiler rather than two, on Friday there was no heat ar all, but Mr Emergency-Boiler-Repair-Man had patched things up.
The service got underway. There were four interviews of six people in the congregation–there were two couples–who are involved in Christians Against Poverty (CAP).
The first was with a couple who work at CAP Head office in Bradford. One works with people on payment plans to clear their debt and the other deals with people who are unable to pay off their debt, arranging for insolvency agreements and bankruptcies.
The second was with a person who has been running Fresh Start an 8 weeks course on freedom from life-controlling habits such as smoking, gambling and drinking.
The third was with a couple who run the CAP Money course (Our church has on on 8th to- 22nd February). This is for all, not just those with financial problems, and teaches a three account budgeting system, living, savings and payments accounts.
Finally Befriending. That is people who walk alongside people going through financial problems.
CAP has been mentioned favourably by Martin Lewis on the Money Saving Expert program. It is a well respected financial advice. We were asked that if we wish to give to do it directly to CAP Huddersfield rather than CAP nationally, although giving to CAP nationally was OK.
I was surprised that the service also had a sermon, I would have been well satisfied to have worshipped God and had this news of what is going on in this charity that our church supports and helps run, but this was an extra bit to the Communion service the readings and sermon were yet to come.
Vicar Mike was on a busy day, doing the liturgy, interviews and sermon, which started with him telling of Michael who had spent 25 years in prison thinking about his release date, which always seemed a long way off. When the day came it seemed strange to be in a car with his wife instead of conducting their relationship under the eyes of a guard. This story was a lead-in. The theme of the service was about freedom.
Luke 4:14-21 Jesus manifesto. he said now is the time a new kingdom. For release to the poor. And he means the poor. For release from prison, for release to the blind, for release from oppression. The Year of Jubilee was every 50 years, Debts were cancelled and slaves were freed. No one could become over-rich or perpetually poor. Jesus was announcing Now is the time of Jubilee. Jesus is here in the Spirit today.
Partnering with CAP is part of our ministry in Jesus so that people will have freedom. CAP realises that true freedom can only be found in Jesus, Twelve people who have used CAP in Huddersfield have found freedom in Jesus. We want to be good news going to the broken people.
We are people who go, not those who simply stay safely here.