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Opt in to make change happen

calendar23 March 2018

Alex Jones's avatar Alex Jones

Opt in to make change happen

We can’t do this without you.

Change doesn’t happen without people opting to work together, standing up and saying, ‘Yes, I’m in, let’s do this!’ We’re building a movement of people like you, passionate about speaking up for those who have no voice. Your support means that someone becomes debt free through CAP every 45 minutes, every working week!

I take inspiration from incredible people who have done incredible things. At CAP HQ we’ve named many of our meeting rooms after some of them. I regularly have meetings in Wesley, Parks, Pullinger, and Tyndale. As I sit in the Wilberforce room during a difficult meeting, my eyes catch his words written on the wall and I remember what this is all about and the part we all have to play in transforming our world, ‘You may choose to look away but you may never again say you did not know.’

It’s tempting to look at these great figures, to see the change they achieved and feel insignificant in the face of the overwhelming challenge we face. But it’s another hero that offers us a warning about putting incredible women and men on a pedestal and playing down our own agency and ability to make change happen. Nelson Mandela’s personal struggle against apartheid is inspirational. It’s Mandela that reminds us, ‘It is not the kings and generals that make history but the masses of the people.’

The end of apartheid was not achieved by one man. It was the thousands of ordinary South Africans with the support of thousands more around the world that changed history. At CAP we’re only freeing tens of thousands from debt and poverty every year because we have a movement of incredible supporters by our side; supporters who’ve chosen to speak up for the poor and give their time, money and energy to see change happen.

This May, the law is changing so that people have more control over what they receive from organisations, charities included. Although we think it’s great to be given the choice, this new law puts many charities – including CAP – in a very uncertain place. When the law changes, we won’t be able to communicate with our supporters – our invaluable CAP family – in the same way. 32,000 supporters have already chosen to remain connected to everything CAP is doing, and we’re asking you to take ten seconds to do the same.

Your passion is what changes lives. We can only give a voice to the voiceless, bring hope to the hopeless, and do it all through the Church, with you by our side. Ten seconds and four ticks is all it takes to join the thousands of others who’ve already said ‘yes!’ to speaking up for the poor.

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A house of prayer for everyone

calendar22 March 2018

Joseph Allison's avatar Joseph Allison

A house of prayer for everyone

At church it’s not uncommon to focus on certain parts of the Easter story more than others. We tend to centre on Palm Sunday, the last supper and the Easter garden, skipping over the bits in between. Indeed, if you only go to church on Sundays, you can go from turning up on Palm Sunday with Jesus coming into Jerusalem, and then jump to Easter Sunday to hear that Jesus has risen from the dead.

A whole lot happens in those days in between, and there’s a lot we can learn from it too.

There’s one part at the beginning of the week where Jesus gets properly mad. Coming into the temple in Jerusalem, he sees the moneylenders selling sacrificial doves and drives them out. When we hear this story, we often leave with the moral that we should keep money and prayer separate. But Jesus came from the Jewish tradition in which sacred and secular were not separated (what was most important was that both areas were done right) so why else might Jesus be mad?

Well, if you look into it, there’s an interesting reason the people were selling doves. If you were rich and wanted to be spiritually clean, you sacrificed a lamb to God, but if you were poor you sacrificed a dove. If you couldn’t afford one, then you couldn’t come into the temple. This was a huge barrier for the poor people who needed God’s help and a community of support the most.

Not only were the people in charge implicit in keeping people out, they were also profiting off people who were struggling financially. You can see then why Jesus would be mad and why the people in charge would be annoyed when he tipped over the tables.

A little later in the week, Jesus sees a widowed woman who gives away her last two coins. He says, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’ (Mark 12:43-44)

We admire the woman for her faith, but couldn’t we equally read what Jesus said with a sense of outrage in his voice? Wouldn’t you be upset to hear that a poor widow had nothing and was expected to give everything, and the more privileged gave so much less and didn’t do anything to change things?

Jesus didn’t get on well with the people in charge because he was presenting a whole new way to live. It was one of the reasons he was crucified. What’s important about these moments in the Easter story is that there’s so much we can learn about the way we treat one another, individually, as churches and as a society. For Jesus, it was essential that the poor, the sick and the marginalised were welcomed and helped above all else.

At CAP, we’re all about giving the very best to those with the very least. Our heart is to put those who are often left at the ‘bottom’ of society at the very top of our priority list. We work in and through the Church in order to create safe spaces where the poor can come to be welcomed and loved.

This Easter time, we can all be challenged by what Jesus did in the temple that crucial week: how do we make sure our churches (and we as individuals) model his bias towards the vulnerable and marginalised and avoid making the same mistakes as the temple authorities?

‘It’s been a fulfilling few weeks!’

calendar07 March 2018

Maisie Pollard's avatar Maisie Pollard

‘It’s been a fulfilling few weeks!’

When I chose to do a work placement, I thought, ‘Where would be a great place for me to gain experience in a friendly environment?’ I’ve always been interested in charity work so my first thought was Christians Against Poverty – and it’s been a fulfilling few weeks!

From the very start I learnt so much about what the charity does, which was so exciting. Over the next few weeks I heard about CAP’s vision to open up poverty-relieving centres all over the UK, in addition to amazing stories of clients whose lives have been turned around with CAP’s help. This inspired me so much that I decided to become a Life Changer, supporting the charity through a monthly financial gift.

Being surrounded by encouraging people who share the same faith as me has been something that I haven’t experienced before in a work environment. When I found out that all the staff at CAP HQ gather first thing on a Monday morning to worship God and praise him for everything he’s done for clients throughout the past week, I was so encouraged. It was amazing to celebrate together what God is doing through CAP week on week and to get a glimpse of what my Life Changer gift is helping to make possible.

My time at CAP has been invaluable in understanding how a national charity operates and I’ve been privileged to work in the Communications team, which links directly to my English Literature degree. I’ve been given hands-on work and written various blogs on student finance advice, budget gifts for Valentine’s Day and ways to pay it forward over Lent. This is something I’ve never had the chance to do prior to this experience and having my writing published on the blog has been a real achievement, especially for an English student like myself. I’m used to writing lots of essays, but my work placement gave me the opportunity to write in a different style for the blog. I can see this experience being really useful in my future career.

I would 100% recommend work experience in a charity setting to anyone, especially students! Giving doesn’t always have to be financial. Instead, giving up some of your time can be just as valued and beneficial. You can gain new skills for your own development while making a real difference to other people’s lives.

I’d like to give a big thank you to CAP for the opportunity you’ve given me and I’ll definitely be celebrating with you when the UK is completely covered in CAP centres!

Feeling inspired to follow in Maisie’s footsteps? Join us at CAP HQ for our summer placement programme, Engage, or why not apply for Lead, our one-year paid internship? We're also in need of volunteers to lend a hand in the CAP cafes at Big Church Day Out and New Wine's United 18 this summer. So whether you’ve got a few days, weeks or months to spare, there’s something for everyone! Click the links to find out more and grab yourself an application form.

Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours during the snowy weather

calendar01 March 2018

Gemma Pask's avatar Gemma Pask

Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours during the snowy weather

So it's snowing. A lot. For most people, it's an inconvenience, but for some - especially the elderly and vulnerable - it can be isolating and often dangerous. It's times like these that well known quote from Mark 12:31 is especially pertinent: 'Love your neighbour as yourself'. Let's get into the community spirit and help those in need on our doorsteps during these extreme weather conditions.

  • Maybe there's a family living nearby that relies on their kids getting a hot meal from school. Could you cook something up and take it round to them?
  • Could you get your wellies on and make it to the corner shop to pick up some supplies for that elderly neighbour who can't get out? Home help and 'meals on wheels' services may be affected by the weather. 
  • Pick up the phone and call someone who lives alone. They may have been stuck inside for days with no company and a chat could be a real blessing!
  • Keep a family warm in the cold weather: offer to top up their gas/electricity meter.
  • If you can, get out there and grit the street outside your house or grab a shovel and help to clear the road.
  • If you see someone sleeping rough, help them to get the support they need by alerting local services to their whereabouts using StreetLink.

Share your own tips for looking out for vulnerable neighbours during extreme weather below.

Make coffee, make conversation, make a difference

calendar27 February 2018

Maisie Pollard's avatar Maisie Pollard

Make coffee, make conversation, make a difference

With CAP on a mission to relieve as many people from debt (and expand our debt centre coverage across the UK), this year we’re heading out to various exhibitions and events to spread the word and drum up vital support. But to do this, we need amazing people like YOU reading this to help.

This year we're bringing CAP cafés to Big Church Day Out and New Wine's United 18. We really need volunteers to serve drinks and snacks, keep the café running smoothly, chat with members of the public about what we do here at CAP and help promote our life changing services. There are plenty of tasks that need covering, so whatever your skills your help will be invaluable.

Volunteering is a great opportunity to connect with other people and make friends for life, all while giving your time for a worthwhile cause. We’d love to have you on board and, as a thank you, you’ll be guaranteed free camping, free food AND free entry into the festival.

Big Church Day Out is a Christian worship festival rocking up to both West Sussex and Cheshire in the summer. We need 40 volunteers at both events:

  • 25 to 28 May 2018 - Wiston House, West Sussex
  • 31 May to 3 June 2018 - Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire

You can also get involved in the marketplace café at United 18, taking place at Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet. We need 28 volunteers at both weeks:

  • 28 July to 4 August (week one)
  • 5 to 12 August (week two)

Interested? It's really easy to apply - just fill out this form and you’ll be on your way to helping change lives this summer.

We'll be at lots of other events throughout the year. We're not currently looking for volunteers at these but we'd love to see you. We’ve some special giveaways planned this year so be sure to come and say hi!

  • 8 to 10 March – Jesus Culture, Manchester
  • 12 to 13 April – RCCG Ordained Ministers’ Conference, Bournemouth
  • 8 to 10 May – Assemblies of God Stronger Together, Bradford
  • 15 to 17 May – Elim Leaders’ Summit, Harrogate
  • 26 to 27 May – Big Church Day Out South, West Sussex
  • 1 to 2 June – Big Church Day Out North, Cheshire
  • 25 to 27 July – Hillsong Europe, London
  • 28 July to 3 August – New Wine (week one), Somerset
  • 5 to 11 August – New Wine (week two), Somerset
  • 24 to 28 August – ONE event, Lincoln

I want to join in! Click here to apply.

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